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Economy in Brief

U.S. New Home Sales Decline M/M; Prices Fall Versus Last Year
by Tom Moeller  March 25, 2014

New home sales fell 3.3% to 440,000 (-3.3% y/y) during February as January sales were revised lower to 455,000, initially reported as 468,000. The latest figure fell short of expectations for 445,000 sales in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. These volume numbers are quoted at seasonally adjusted annual rates.

Sales in the Northeast fell by nearly one-third m/m to 23,000 (-34.3% y/y) while sales in the West were off 15.9% to 95,000 (-27.5% y/y). Finally, sales in the South nudged 1.5% lower to 255,000 (+19.7% y/y). Working the other, new home sales in the Midwest improved by more than one-third m/m to 67,000 (1.5% y/y).

The median price of a new home during February ticked up to $261,800 (-1.2 y/y) from $260,800. The average price of a new home increased 1.6% last month to $317,500 (1.6% y/y) but January's price was revised lower.

The inventory of unsold homes has been roughly unchanged during the last five months (+24.3%). The months' sales supply of new homes nudged up to 5.2, the highest level since September. The length of time to sell a new home ticked up m/m to 3.5 months, down from 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 Feb Jan Dec Y/Y % 2013 2012 2011
Total SAAR, 000s 440 455 441 -1.1 431 368 306
Northeast 23 34 22 -34.3 30 29 21
Midwest 67 49 61 1.5 61 47 45
South 255 259 253 19.7 234 196 168
West 95 113 105 -27.5 106 97 72
Median Price (NSA, $) 261,800 260,800 269,600 -1.2 264,600 242,108 224,317
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