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Economy in Brief

U.S. New Home Sales Nudge Higher
by Tom Moeller   October 27, 2010

Home sales remain in the doldrums. The Census Department reported September new home sales rose 6.6% to 307,000 from an unrevised 288,000. Nevertheless the latest remained near the series' low. Expectations were for September sales of 300,000. The stability of home sales last month reflected varied changes across the country's regions. Sales in the Midwest rose slightly m/m and to the highest level since April. Sales in the South also improved slightly. In the Northeast sales ticked up but in the West they fell.

Upward revisions to earlier months' figures helped a 1.5% m/m rise in the median home prices to $223,800 cause the y/y comparison to total a modest 3.3%. The gain was accompanied by a slight rise in the average price of a new home to $257,500 (-11.3% y/y).

At the current sales rate, the months' supply of unsold homes slipped to  8.0, still nearly the highest in a year. The latest remained well below the early-2009 high of 12.1 months. The inventory of unsold homes was down 19.0% from 12 months ago and down roughly two-thirds from the 2006 peak. The data in this report are available in Haver's USECON database.

The Current Landscape of the California Housing Market from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco is available here.

US New Homes September August July Y/Y % 2009 2008 2007
Total Sales (SAAR, 000s) 307 288 285 -21.5 372 481 769
Northeast 30 29 30 -18.9 32 35 64
Midwest 53 33 44 -20.9 54 69 118
South 160 155 166 -16.2 201 264 409
West 64 71 45 -33.3 87 113 178
Median Price (NSA, $) 223,800 220,500 209,800 3.3 214,500 230,408 243,742
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