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Economy in Brief

U.S. New Home Sales Struggle Higher
by Tom Moeller November 27, 2009

Though sales of new homes rose 6.2% to 430,000 last month, the gain followed two months of decline. In all, new home sales have risen nearly one-third from the January trough and the October figure exceeded Consensus expectations for 405,000 sales.

Home prices firmed during October for the second consecutive month. The median price of a new single-family home rose to $212,200 from an upwardly revised September level. The monthly increase pared the y/y decline to 0.5% from its worst of -14.5% this past February. The average new home price of $261,100 was off 4.7% y/y.

Price discounts, higher sales and much lower housing starts have combined to lower the overhang of unsold homes. It fell by more than one-third versus last year to the lowest level since the early 1970s (again, no typo). The months' supply of unsold homes fell further last month to 6.7 months and was down from the high of 12.4 months in January. The figure was the lowest since December 2006.

US New Homes October September August Y/Y 2008 2007 2006
Total Sales (SAAR, 000s) 430 405 415 5.1% 481 769 1,049
  Northeast 37 39 38  5.7 35 64 64
  Midwest 56 70 55 -11.1 69 118 161
  South 244 198 212 8.4 264 408 559
  West 93 98 110 8.1 113 178 266
Median Price (NSA, $) 212,200 210,700 206,300  -0.5 230,408 243,742 243,067

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