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Economy in Brief

U.S. New Home Sales Rebound in January, Though Less than Expected
by Sandy Batten  February 24, 2017

Sales of new single-family homes rebounded in January, rising 3.7% m/m to 555,000 units, seasonally adjusted at an annual rate. The sharp 10.4% m/m drop in December was revised up to a 7.0% m/m decline (575,000 units), but this was due mostly to a downward revision to the previously reported 4.7% m/m jump (598,000 units) in November--now a more modest 1.2% m/m rise. The Action Economics Forecast Survey had looked for a rebound, but a slightly larger one than transpired (to 570,000). Compared to a year ago, sales of new homes are up 5.1%. New home sales have more than doubled from their February 2011 low but remain more than 60% below their July 2005 peak. Sales of new homes have generally slowed since the middle of last year, in sharp contrast to the acceleration in the sales of existing homes.

The median price of a new home (NSA) slipped 1.0% m/m (+7.5% y/y) to $312,900 from $316,200, revised from $322,500. The average price of a new home slumped 4.8% m/m (-1.3% y/y) to $360,900 following a 1.9% m/m rise in December and a 9.2% m/m jump in November.

The January rebound in sales was relatively widespread with sales rising in three of the four major regions. Sales jumped 15.8% m/m in the Northeast, soared 14.8% m/m in the Midwest, and increased 4.3% m/m in the South. They slipped 4.4% m/m in the West.

The months' supply of homes at the current sales rate was unchanged in January at 5.7, its highest level since September 2015. The median number of months a new home was on the market edged down to 3.2 (NSA) in January from 3.3 in December and remains significantly below the most recent high of 4.1 months in April.

The data in this report are available in Haver's USECON database. The consensus expectation figure from the Action Economics Forecast Survey is available in the AS1REPNA database.

U.S. New Single-Family Home Sales (SAAR, 000s) Jan Dec Nov Jan Y/Y % 2016 2015 2014
Total 555 535 575 5.1 560 501 439
  Northeast 44 38 30 0.0 34 24 28
  Midwest 70 61 75 0.0 67 61 60
  South 290 278 313 -4.5 318 285 244
  West 151 158 157 10.0 143 128 108
Median Price (NSA, $) 312,900 316,200 315,900 7.5 308,992 297,258 283,775
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