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Economy in Brief

New Home Sales Decline Surprising
by Tom Moeller September 27, 2005

New single-family home sales dropped 9.9% m/m last month to 1.237M following a 5.3% gain in July that was slightly weaker than estimated initially. Consensus expectations had been for stability in August near 1.35M.

The latest decline reflected widespread, sharp declines of 22.0% (+16.4% y/y) in the Northeast, 10.6% (-10.6% y/y) in the Midwest and 17.9% (+3.9% y/y) out West. Sales in the South managed to fall only 2.2% (+13.1% y/y).

With a 2.5% rise, the median price of a new single family home reversed most of the prior month's revised 3.0% decline which was half the decline reported initially.

The figures from the Census Department reflect home sales counted at the time of sales contract or deposit.

Yesterday's speech by Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan titled Mortgage Banking can be found here.

Estimates of Home Mortgage Originations, Repayments, and Debt on One-to-Four-Family Residences by Alan Greenspan and James Kennedy is available here.

Homes Sales (000s, AR) Aug July Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
New Single-Family 1,237 1,373 6.2% 1,200 1,091 976
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