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Economy in Brief

U.S. New-Home Sales Near The Lowest Since 1991
by Tom Moeller June 25, 2008

Sales new single-family homes fell 2.5% to 512,000 and reversed roughly half of the prior month's increase. Sales were down 63.1% from their July 2005 peak. The decline about matched expectations for a level of 514,000.

Overall sales were near their lowest level since 1991 with the worst performance shown by sales in the Midwest and in the Western regions of the country.

The greatest sales decline in May was for homes selling in the $300,000 to $399,000 price range while an increase was logged for lesser priced homes, priced below the $150,000 level.

By region, May sales declined most significantly in the Northeast and in the West. In the South sales were about unchanged and they rose somewhat in the Midwest.

The median price for a new single-family home fell 5.1% to $231,000 from an upwardly revised April level.

The number of new homes for sale fell 2.0% (-17.3%y/y) and reduced the inventory of unsold homes to the lowest level since 2005. The decline in the number of unsold homes has been greatest in the West (-22.9% y/y) and the declines elsewhere in the country about equal the totals' figure.

The month's supply of new homes for sale again ticked lower m/m but remained near the cycle's high.

US New Homes May April Y/Y 2007 2006 2005
Total Sales (SAAR, 000s) 512 525 -40.3% 768 1,049 1,279
  Northeast 35 38  -57.8 64 64 81
  Midwest 82 78 -42.3 118 161 203
  South 281 280 -35.0 408 559 638
  West 114 129 -43.0 178 266 356
Median Price (NSA, $) 231,000 243,500 -5.7 243,742 243,067 234,208
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