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Economy in Brief

U.S. New Home Sales Near Cycle-High as Prices Surge to Record
by Tom Moeller  May 23, 2013

New home sales increased 2.3% (29.0% y/y) last month to 454,000 (AR) from a revised 444,000 during March, initially reported as 417,000. The latest level was near the cycle-high as the monthly gain outpaced Consensus expectations for sales of 426,000. Sales were mixed m/m throughout the country. New home sales in the West jumped 10.8% (26.8% y/y) to 123,000 while sales in the South gained 3.0% (37.5% y/y) to 242,000. To the downside were sales in the Northeast. They fell 16.7% (+3.4% y/y) to 30,000 and sales in the Midwest were off 4.8% (+18.0% y/y) to 59,000.

Home prices reached a record high with an 8.3% jump (14.9% y/y) to a median of $271,600. The average price of a new home sold gained 15.4% (14.9% y/y) to $330,800, also a record high.

Conditions in the new home market remain tight. The inventory of unsold homes backed up recently but the months supply of new homes neared the old low of 4.1. The length of time to sell a new home rose m/m to 4.0 months but that was down from the revised 5.1 month average for all of last year. These figures compare to more than 14.0 months at the end of 2009.

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 Apr Mar Feb Y/Y % 2012 2011 2010
Total (SAAR, 000s) 454 444 429 29.0 366 307 321
    Northeast 30 36 34 3.4 28 21 31
    Midwest 59 62 61 18.0 49 45 45
    South 242 235 199 37.5 195 168 173
    West 123 111 135 26.8 94 72 74
Median Price (NSA, $) 271,600 250,700 266,300 14.9 242,258 224,317 221,242
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