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Economy in Brief

U.S. New Home Sales Improve As Prices Decline
by Tom Moeller  June 23, 2015

New home sales during May gained 2.2% to 546,000 (AR) from 534,000 in April, initially reported as 517,000. It was the highest sales level since February 2008. The latest figure beat expectations for 520,000 sales in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Sales are quoted at seasonally adjusted annual rates.

Home prices remained under pressure. The median price for a new home during May fell 2.9% (-1.0% y/y) to $282,800 from 291,100, revised from $297,300. The average price of a new home edged 0.9% higher to $337,000 (4.2% y/y) from $333,900, following several months of sharp decline.

Sales results varied around the country. Sales in the Northeast nearly doubled m/m to 30,000 but they were unchanged y/y. Home sales in the West improved 13.1% (27.3% y/y) to 138,000. To the downside, home sales in the Midwest declined 5.7% (-14.3% y/y) to 66,000 while sales in South fell 4.3% (+27.3% y/y) to 312,000.

The inventory of unsold homes was little-changed for the third month at 206,000 (6.2% y/y). The months' sales supply of new homes dipped m/m to 4.5 months, equaling the lowest level since mid-2013. The length of time to sell a new home eased to 3.9 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 May Apr Mar May Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Total SAAR, 000s 546 534 494 18.6 439 429 369
  Northeast 30 16 19 0.0 28 30 28
  Midwest 66 70 57 -14.3 60 62 48
  South 312 326 283 27.3 244 232 194
  West 138 122 135 27.3 108 106 97
Median Price (NSA, $) 282,800 291,100 287,900 -1.0 283,233 265,092 242,108
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