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Economy in Brief

U.S. New Home Sales Are Depressed
by Tom Moeller  November 28, 2012

New home buyers were hesitant to commit last month. New home sales in October slipped 0.3% to 368,000 (SAAR) from 369,000 during September, revised from 389,000. The figure fell short of Consensus expectations for 388,000 sales. Home sales in the Northeast fell by nearly one third m/m (+10.5% y/y) to 21,000. Also depressed were sales in the South which fell 11.6% (+9.3% y/y) to 176,000. The Commerce Department indicated that there was "minimal" effect on the data from Hurricane Sandy. Conversely, new home sales in the Midwest jumped by nearly-two thirds (17.6% y/y) to 60,000 and sales in the West rose 8.8% (33.7% y/y) to 111,000.

Home pricing also suffered last month and the median price of a new single family home fell 4.2% to $237,700 (+5.7% y/y) but prices in prior months were revised higher. The average price fell to $278,900 (8.0% y/y) during October.

The length of time to sell a new home fell sharply m/m to 5.9 months last month, the least since 2007. The inventory of unsold homes at 147,000 (-7.5% y/y) remained near its all time low. This is a 4.8 month supply at the current sales rate and down from the early-2009 high of 12.2 months.

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

 

U.S. New Home Sales Oct Sep Aug Y/Y % 2011 2010 2009
Total (SAAR, 000s) 368 369 366 17.2 307 321 374
Northeast 21 31 26 10.5 21 31 31
Midwest 60 37 55 17.6 45 45 54
South 176 199 178 9.3 169 173 202
West 111 102 107 33.7 72 74 87
Median Price (NSA, $) $237,700 $248,000 $254,000 5.7 224,317 221,242 214,500
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