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Economy in Brief

U.S. New Home Sales Unexpectedly Backpedal
by Tom Moeller  April 23, 2015

New home sales during March declined to 481,000 (+19.4% y/y) from 543,000 during February, initially reported as 539,000. The latest figure missed expectations for 510,000 sales in the Action Economics Forecast Survey and was the lowest since November. These volume numbers are quoted at seasonally adjusted annual rates.

Home prices softened along with sales. The median price for a new home during March fell to $277,400 (-1.7% y/y) from $281,600, revised from $275,500. It was the lowest price level since last April. The average price of a new home fell to $343,300 (+3.6% y/y) from $345,500. It was the lowest average price in nine months.

Sales in the Northeast fell by one-third (-20.0% y/y) to 20,000 while sales in the South backpedaled 15.8% (+14.6% y/y) to 267,000. Home sales in the West declined 3.4% (+57.3% y/y) to 140,000 but sales in the Midwest rose 5.9% (-3.6% y/y) to 54,000.

The inventory of unsold homes recovered 1.9% to 213,000 (12.1% y/y). The months' sales supply of new homes rose m/m to 5.3 months, the highest level since November. The length of time to sell a new home jumped to 4.0 months, the longest time since June 2013, but still 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 Mar Feb Jan Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Total SAAR, 000s 481 543 514 19.4 439 430 368
  Northeast 20 30 17 -20.0 27 31 29
  Midwest 54 51 61 -3.6 58 61 47
  South 267 317 290 14.6 245 233 195
  West 140 145 146 57.3 109 106 97
Median Price (NSA, $) 277,400 281,600 292,300 -1.7 283,233 265,092 242,108
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