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Economy in Brief

U.S. New Home Sales Increase To 2008 High
by Tom Moeller  January 27, 2015

New home sales during December increased 11.6% to 481,000 (AR) from 431,000 in November, initially reported as 438,000. The latest figure was the highest since June 2008 and pulled the average sales volume for last year to 437,000, also the highest since 2008. The latest figure surpassed expectations for 450,000 sales in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. These volume numbers are quoted at seasonally adjusted annual rates.

The median price for a new home improved 2.2% (8.2% y/y) to a record high of $298,100 from $291,600, revised from $280,900. The average price of a new home gained 9.6% to $377,800 (17.6% y/y) from $344,600 in November, revised from $321,800.

Higher sales in the Northeast pulled last month's total higher with a 53.6% jump to a recovery high of 43,000 (72.0% y/y). Sales in the South also increased 17.7% to 253,000 (0.8% y/y) which reversed the November decline. Home sales in the West improved 3.1% to 131,000 (23.6% y/y), the highest level since February 2013. Lower sales in the Midwest offset these gains with an 11.5% decline to 54,000 (-10.0% y/y), the second straight month of decline.

The inventory of unsold homes increased 2.3% to 219,000 (17.1% y/y), the highest level since June 2010 and up by nearly half from the 2012 low. The months' sales supply of new homes fell m/m to 5.5 months versus last year's low of 3.9 months. The length of time to sell a new home was essentially stable m/m at 3.1 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 from the Action Economics survey is available in the AS1REPNA database.

U.S. New Home Sales Dec Nov Oct Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Total SAAR, 000s 481 431 462 8.8 437 430 368
Northeast 43 28 27 72.0 29 31 29
Midwest 54 61 65 -10.0 59 61 47
South 253 215 254 0.8 241 233 195
West 131 127 116 23.6 110 106 97
Median Price (NSA, $) 298,100 291,600 296,700 8.2 282,300 265,092 242,108
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