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Economy in Brief

U.S. New Home Sales Advance As Prices Fall Back 
by Tom Moeller  April 23, 2013

New home sales increased 1.5% (18.5% y/y) last month to 417,000 (AR) from an unrevised 411,000 during February. The rise roughly matched Consensus expectations for sales of 420,000. Sales were mixed m/m throughout the country. New home sales in the Northeast rose 20.6% (32.3% y/y) to 41,000 while in the South sales increased 19.4% (8.0% y/y) to 215,000. In the West, sales fell 20.9% to 110,000 but were up roughly one-third y/y. Finally, sales in the Midwest dropped 12.1% (21.4% y/y) to 51,000.

Home prices fell 6.8% (+3.0% y/y) during March to a median of $247,000. That reversed the prior month's gain. The average price of a new home sold fell  9.7% (-1.3% y/y) to $279,900.

Conditions in the new home market remain tight. The inventory of unsold homes has backed up somewhat recently while the months supply of new homes held at 4.4. The length of time to sell a new home remained at 5.0 months, 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. 

U.S. New Home Sales Mar Feb Jan Y/Y % 2012 2011 2010
Total (SAAR, 000s) 417 411 445 18.5 366 307 321
Northeast 41 34 33 32.3 28 21 31
Midwest 51 58 55 21.4 49 45 45
South 215 180 214 8.0 195 168 173
West 110 139 143 37.5 94 72 74
Median Price (NSA, $) 247,000 264,900 245,400 3.0 242,258 224,317 221,242
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