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Economy in Brief

U.S. New Home Sales Surprisingly Improve As Prices Weaken Further
by Tom Moeller  March 24, 2015

New home sales during February increased to 539,000 from 500,000 in January, initially reported as 481,000. The latest figure was the highest since February 2008 and surpassed expectations for 470,000 sales in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. These volume numbers are quoted at seasonally adjusted annual rates.

Lower prices are attracting buyers. The median price for a new home in February declined 4.8% to $275,500 from $289,400, revised from $294,300. The average price of a new home slipped 0.9% to $341,000 (+4.6% y/y) from $344,100, revised from 348,300.

Sales in the Northeast more than doubled (87.0% y/y) to 43,000 while sales in the South increased 10.1% (22.0% y/y). Home sales in the Midwest were off 12.9% (-3.6% y/y) and in the West, sales declined 6.0% (+34.0% y/y).

The inventory of unsold homes declined 1.4% to 210,000 (+12.9% y/y). The months' sales supply of new homes fell m/m to 4.7 months, the lowest point since June 2013. The length of time to sell a new home moved slightly higher m/m to 3.5 months, but still was 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 Feb Jan Dec Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Total SAAR, 000s 539 500 479 25.7 439 430 368
  Northeast 43 17 31 50.0 27 31 29
  Midwest 54 62 51 -3.6 58 61 47
  South 316 287 271 23.8 245 233 195
  West 126 134 126 34.0 109 106 97
Median Price (NSA, $) 275,500 289,400 295,500 2.6 283,233 265,092 242,108
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