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Economy in Brief

New Home Sales Again Rose Unexpectedly
by Tom Moeller May 24, 2006

New home sales during April again posted an unexpected gain. The 4.9% m/m increase to 1.198 million (SAAR) followed a revised 12.0% rise during March which was revised down slightly. The increased contrasted to Consensus expectations for 1.15M sales.

The latest sales level was 12.4% below last July's peak and sales so far this year were 11.5% below the 2005 average.

April sales in the Northeast rose 8.2% (-33.3% y/y) and in the West sales rose 2.0% (-12.6% y/y). Sales down South (+6.7% y/y) were notably strong with a 7.8% m/m gain but sales in the Midwest fell 1.1% (-16.9% y/y).

The number of homes for sale surged for the second month by 2.4% (27.0% y/y). Again in the Northeast the number of homes for sale jumped, by 1.9% (63.6% y/y).

The median sales price of a new home recovered 2.8% (0.9% y/y) following a 6.2% March decline.

U.S. New Homes April March Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
Total Sales (AR, 000's) 1,198 1,142 -5.7% 1,280 1,201 1,091
Median Price (NSA) $238,500 $232,000 0.9% $234,208 $217,817 $191,383
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