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Economy in Brief

New Home Sales; There's Life Yet
by Tom Moeller November 29, 2005

New single-family home sales rose a surprising 13.0% last month to a record 1.424M, adding to upwardly revised levels in September and August. The m/m advance was the strongest since 1993 and the October level by far exceeded Consensus expectations for a decline to 1.20M.

Home sales often strengthen as buyers attempt to beat further increases in interest rates.

Sales were notably strong in the Northeast where a 43.3% (-16.5% y/y) rise recouped nearly all of the prior two months' declines while sales out West recovered all of the prior two months' weakness with a 46.9% (8.8% y/y) jump. Sales in the South rose a lesser 1.9% (27.5% y/y) but that followed gains during the prior two months. In the Midwest, sales reversed much the gain in September with a 9.5% decline that was the fourth decline in five months and left sales down 17.4% versus the May peak.

The median price of a new single family home rose 1.6% m/m (0.9% y/y) after a 2.4% decline in September that was shallower than originally estimated.

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

Homes Sales (000s, AR) Oct Sept Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
New Single-Family 1,424 1,260 9.0% 1,200 1,091 976
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