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Economy in Brief

U.S. New Home Sales Post A Limp Rebound
by Tom Moeller  April 25, 2011

The housing market continues to generate only modest forward momentum. Consistent with last week's report of higher sales of existing single-family homes, total new home sales in March rose 25.9% to 300,000 (AR). That, however, just recovered February's decline of 18.3% which was less than reported initially. Expectations were for 280,000 March sales according to Action Economics. Despite the latest rise, new home sales still have fallen by three-quarters from the all-time monthly record 1,279,000 in 2005. The rise in March sales was most pronounced in the Northeast, up two-thirds from February's record low. Sales in the West rose by one-quarter and recovered the February decline. Sales in the Midwest rose a modest 12.9% from a record low while sales in the South slipped 0.6% m/m.

With the rise in sales last month, the inventory of unsold homes fell to a 7.3 months supply and reversed the February increase. Also, it took a median 8.5 months to sell a home since completion versus the low of 7.8 months in January.

The median price of a new single family home rose 2.9% to $213,800 from an upwardly revised February level. By price range, 20% of homes sold cost less than $150,000, 24% cost $150,000 to $199,990, and 29% cost $200,000 to $299,999. At the higher end, 17% cost $300,000 to $399,000 and 10% cost over $400,000. By region, in 2010 homes in the Northeast cost a median $326,775, in the West $259,525, in the Midwest $199,000 and in the South $194,925.

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

Forecasting the End of the Global Recession: Did We Miss the Early Signs? from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas is available here.

U.S. New Home Sales Mar Feb Jan Y/Y % 2010 2009 2008
Total (SAAR, 000s) 300 270 312 -21.9 322 374 482
Northeast 30 18 39 -9.1 31 32 35
Midwest 35 31 41 -34.0 45 54 69
South 162 163 161 -21.4 172 201 265
West 73 58 71 -20.7 74 87 113
Median Price (NSA, $) 213,800 207,700 234,900 -4.9 221,242 214,500 230,408
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