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Economy in Brief

U.S. New Home Sales & Prices Fall
by Tom Moeller January 26, 2012

The market for new homes remains under pressure. Total new home sales fell 2.2% last month to 307,000 (AR) and reversed the little-revised 2.3% November gain. Sales fell short of Consensus expectations for 320,000. Indeed, last year was a rough one for new home sales. The full-year decline of 5.7% was the fourth fall in as many years and lowered sales by three-quarters versus the 2005 peak. The median price of a new single family home fell 2.5% m/m to $210,300 (-12.8% y/y). The latest was the lowest since October, 2010. The average home price rose 6.3% m/m to $266,000 (-8.8% y/y).

Sales performance continued to vary across the country. Sales in the West rose 9.0% but were down 29.1% y/y. In the Northeast sales rose by nearly one-half versus November but were unchanged y/y. Sales in the South fell 10.1% and were down 4.8% y/y while sales in the Midwest were off 3.7% but up by one-third y/y.

The inventory of unsold homes reached another series low (-17.4% y/y) and at 6.1 months of sales was near the cycle-low. Low inventories of unsold homes are fairly common across the country. The length of time to sell a new home fell to median 6.7 months versus 11.4 months in 2010.

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 Dec Nov Oct Y/Y % 2011 2010 2009
Total (SAAR, 000s) 307 314 307 -7.3 303 321 374
  Northeast 22 15 18 0.0 21 31 31
  Midwest 52 54 51 36.8 45 45 54
  South 160 178 155 -4.8 167 173 202
  West 73 67 83 -29.1 70 74 87
Median Price (NSA, $) 210,300 215,700 221,100 -12.8 223,433 221,242 214,500
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