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Economy in Brief

U.S. New Home Sales Weaken but Prices Rebound
by Tom Moeller  October 26, 2015

Recent housing market data are throwing off mixed signals. On the heels of Thursday's report that existing home sales in September neared a nine-year high, today's indication that new single-family home sales fell 11.5% last month to 468,000 (AR) left them up 2.0% y/y as the prior two months were revised lower. Sales were at the lowest level since November. Expectations had been for 547,000 sales in the Action Economics Forecast Survey.

The median price of a new single-family rose 2.7% (13.5% y/y) to $296,000. The reversal of an August decline left them at this year's highest level and one-third firmer than the 2010 average. The average price of a new single-family home jumped 6.2% (14.1% y/y) to $364,000, the highest level since December.

Home sales were notably weak last month in the Northeast as they fell 61.8% to 13,000 (-56.7% y/y). Sales in other regions of the country also declined but to lesser degrees. In the South, sales were off 8.7% to 274,000 but rose 8.3% y/y. Sales in the Midwest fell 8.3% both m/m and y/y to 55,000 and sales in the West declined 6.7% to 126,000 (+8.6% y/y).

The easing of home sales prompted a rise in the supply of homes on the market to 5.8 months at the current sales rate, the highest level since July of last year. Working the other way, however, the median number of months a home was on the market declined to 3.3, the least since February.

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 Single-Family Home Sales (SAAR, 000s) Sep Aug Jul Sep Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Total 468 529 503 2.0 440 430 368
  Northeast 13 34 25 -56.7 28 31 29
  Midwest 55 60 62 -8.3 58 61 47
  South 274 300 287 8.3 244 233 195
  West 126 135 129 8.6 110 106 97
Median Price (NSA, $) 296,900 289,100 296,400 13.5 283,775 265,092 242,108
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