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Economy in Brief

U.S. New Home Sales Decline
by Tom Moeller  February 24, 2011

Total new home sales in January fell 12.6% to 284,000 and reversed most of the downwardly revised 15.7% December gain. Consensus expectations were for 300,000 sales. Sales have fallen by three-quarters from the all-time record 1,279,000 in 2005. The decline in January sales was most pronounced in the West. A roughly one-third drop m/m to 66,000 reversed the two-thirds increase during December. Sales in the South also fell a sharp 12.8% to 143,000 after several months of stability at a higher level. Sales in the Northeast rose by roughly one-half to 34,000 while sales in the Midwest rose 17.1% to 41,000. 

With the decline in sales last month, the inventory of unsold homes rose to a 7.9 months supply. Nevertheless, it remained down versus the recent high of 9.1 in August. The latest also was just over half the high in January 2009.

The median price of a new single family home slipped 1.9% to $230,500 from a downwardly revised December level. Nevertheless, the latest was near the highest since April 2008.

The data in this report are available in Haver's USECON database.

US New Home Sales Jan Dec Nov Y/Y % 2010 2009 2008
Total (SAAR, 000s) 284 325 281 -18.6 321 374 482
Northeast 34 22 22 -19.0 31 32 35
Midwest 41 35 32 -25.5 44 54 69
South 143 164 163 -17.8 172 201 265
West 66 104 64 -15.4 73 87 113
Median Price (NSA, $) 230,600 235,000 221,400 5.7 220,875 214,500 230,408
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