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Economy in Brief

U.S. New Home Sales Rise While Prices Slip
by Tom Moeller November 28, 2011

Total new home sales nudged up 1.3% last month to 307,000 (AR) following a 3.4% September gain, revised down from 5.7% reported initially. Sales roughly matched Consensus expectations for 310,000. They have moved sideways since the removal last year of the home-buyers tax credit. Price weakness again may have prompted last months' sales increase. The median price of a new single family home fell 0.5% m/m to $212,300 (+4.0% y/y). Earlier months' figures were revised slightly higher. The average price dropped by roughly the same amount m/m to $242,300 (-4.8% y/y).

As has been the case recently, sales performance varied by region of the country. Sales in the Midwest jumped 22.2% (37.5% y/y) while sales in the West rose 14.9%, up by more than one half y/y. Sales in the Northeast were unchanged (-26.7% y/y) while in the South sales fell 9.5% (-5.6% y/y).

The inventory of unsold homes remained at the series low (-19.0% y/y) and it reached a new cycle-low of 6.3 months of sales. Low inventories of unsold homes are fairly common across the country. The length of time to sell a new home fell to a median 7.4 months versus 11.4 months during all of last year.

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

Construction and the Great Recession from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis is available here.

U.S. New Home Sales Oct Sep Aug Y/Y % 2010 2009 2008
Total (SAAR, 000s) 307 303 293 8.9 321 374 482
  Northeast 22 22 25 -26.7 31 31 35
  Midwest 55 45 49 37.5 45 54 69
  South 153 169 156 -5.6 173 202 265
  West 77 67 63 54.0 74 87 113
Median Price (NSA, $) 212,300 213,300 217,600 4.0 221,242 214,500 230,408
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