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Economy in Brief

U.S. New Home Sales Dip But Prices Strengthen
by Tom Moeller  December 24, 2013

New home sales during November slipped 2.1% to 464,000 (+16.6% y/y) although sales during the prior two months were revised sharply higher. The latest figure beat expectations for 450,000 sales in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. These volume numbers are quoted at seasonally adjusted annual rates.

The median price of a new home increased 4.5% to $270,900 (10.6% y/y), the highest level since April. The average price of a new home improved another 4.1% during November to $340,300, up 17.1% year-to-year.

A nearly one-third m/m increase in sales in the West (19.2% y/y) to 118,000 was accompanied by the Northeast where sales rose 15.2% (15.2% y/y) to 38,000. In the Midwest sales fell by roughly one-quarter (+6.8% y/y) to 47,000. That was followed by the South where sales fell 9.1% (17.6% y/y) to 261,000.

The improvement in sales reduced the inventory of unsold homes during the last two months and the y/y increase moderated to 12.1%. The months' sales supply of new homes dropped sharply to 4.3, not far above the cycle low of 3.9 months reached in January. The length of time to sell a new home ticked slightly higher m/m to 3.1 months, compared to 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 Nov Oct Sep Y/Y 2012 2011 2010
Total SAAR, 000s 464 474 403 16.6 % 368 306 321
Northeast 38 33 26 15.2 29 21 31
Midwest 47 64 57 6.8 47 45 45
South 261 287 229 17.6 196 168 173
West 118 90 91 19.2 97 72 74
Median Price (NSA, $) 270,900 259,200 266,100 10.6 242,108 224,317 221,242
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