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Economy in Brief

U.S. New Home Sales Jump As Prices Decline
by Tom Moeller  February 26, 2013

During January, sales of new homes jumped 15.6% (28.9% y/y) to 437,000 (AR). That compared to 378,000 sales during December, revised from 369,000. Consensus expectations had been for sales of 380,000. Sales increased throughout the country. New home sales in the West were up 60.3% y/y to 125,000 while sales in the Northeast rose 54.2% y/y to 37,000. In the South, sales gained 16.6% y/y to 225,000 last month and sales in the Midwest rose 13.6% y/y to 50,000.

Attractive prices may have bolstered interest in buying a new home last month.The median price of a new home fell 9.4% (+2.1% y/y) to $226,400, the lowest level in twelve months.

Despite these one month changes, conditions in the new home market remain tight.The inventory of unsold homes remains near the record low while the months supply of new homes fell last month to 4.1, also near the record low. The low level of home inventories stretches across the country. On a one month basis, home inventories were unchanged in January and y/y they nudged up a negligible 0.7%. (The series dates back to 1960.)

The length of time to sell a new home ticked up during January. Nevertheless, it took just 4.7 months to sell a home, down from the 7.1 month average for all of last year. These figures compare to more than 14 months at the beginning of 2010.

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. 

Monetary Report to the Congress from the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System can be found here.


U.S. New Home Sales Jan Dec Nov Y/Y % 2012 2011 2010
Total (SAAR, 000s) 437 378 393 28.9 366 307 321
Northeast 37 29 35 54.2 28 21 31
Midwest 50 45 43 13.6 49 45 45
South 225 218 223 16.6 195 168 173
West 125 86 92 60.3 94 72 74
Median Price (NSA, $) 226,400 249,800 245,600 2.1 241,033 224,317 221,242
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