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Economy in Brief

U.S. New Home Sales And Prices Decline
by Tom Moeller  April 24, 2012

New home sales fell 7.1% to 328,000 last month. The decline reversed a revised 7.3% February increase, revised from -1.6%. Earlier months' figures also were revised higher. The latest sales beat Consensus expectations for 318,000 but they remained down roughly three-quarters versus the 2005 peak.

Sales performance continued to vary across the country. The total's decline reflected a 20.0% falloff (-7.7% y/y) in Midwest sales and a 27.0% drop (-7.1% y/y) in the West. Offsetting these declines was a 7.7% rise (12.0% y/y) in the Northeast and a 3.1% gain (16.4% y/y) in the South.

The median price of a new single family home fell 1.0% m/m (+6.3% y/y) to $234,500 from an upwardly revised $236,900 in February. The average price of a new home gained 8.0% m/m to $291,200 (11.7% y/y), its highest since July of 2008.

The length of time to sell a new home increased slightly m/m to a median 7.8 months, but remained below 8.3 months of last year, 11.4 months in 2010 and 12.0 months in 2009. The inventory of unsold homes fell to another series low (-19.1% y/y) and, at 5.3 months, remained near the cycle-low. 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 Mar Feb Jan Y/Y % 2011 2010 2009
Total (SAAR, 000s) 328 353 329 7.5 307 321 374
 Northeast 28 26 23 12.0 21 31 31
 Midwest 36 45 42 -7.7 45 45 54
 South 199 193 191 16.4 169 173 202
 West 65 89 73 -7.1 72 74 87
Median Price (NSA, $) 234,500 236,900 218,000 6.3 224,317 221,242 214,500
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