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Economy in Brief

U.S. New Home Sales Improve But Prices Remain Depressed
by Tom Moeller  October 26, 2011

Total new home sales improved 5.7% last month to 313,000 (AR) after a 0.3% August slip that was less than reported initially. The latest increase was the first in the last five months and it beat Consensus expectations for 300,000 sales. Price weakness may have prompted the sales increase. The median price of a new single family home fell another 3.1% m/m to $204,400 (-10.4% y/y). The latest was the lowest since December, 2003. The average price dropped by roughly the same amount m/m to $243,900 (-9.9% y/y).

As has been the case recently, sales performance varied by region of the country. Sales in the South jumped 11.2% (9.8% y/y) while sales in the West rose 9.7% and were unchanged y/y. Conversely, in the Northeast sales saw a 4.2% m/m decline and sales fell by more than one-third y/y. Sales in the Midwest also fell by 12.2% but were down a lesser 14% y/y.

The inventory of unsold homes fell to a new low for the series (-19.3% y/y) and it reached a new cycle-low of 6.2 months of sales. Low inventories of unsold homes are fairly common across the country.

The data in this report are available in Haver's USECON database. The expectation figure from Action Economics is available in the AS1REPNA database

U.S. New Home Sales Sep Aug Jul Y/Y % 2010 2009 2008
Total (SAAR, 000s) 313 296 297 -0.9 321 374 482
Northeast 23 24 24 -34.3 31 31 35
Midwest 43 49 46 -14.0 45 54 69
South 179 161 165 9.8 173 202 265
West 68 62 62 0.0 74 87 113
Median Price (NSA, $) 204,400 210,900 230,900 -10.4 221,242 214,500 230,408
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