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Economy in Brief

U.S. New Home Sales Improve While Prices Decline
by Tom Moeller  March 23, 2017

Sales of new single-family homes increased 6.1% (12.8% y/y) during February to 592,000 units (AR) from January's 558,000, revised from 555,000. Expectations had been for 565,000 sales in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The latest level was the highest since July, but remained below the peak reached that month of 622,000.

The median price of a new home (NSA) dropped a sharp 3.9% m/m (-4.9% y/y) to $296,200, the lowest level since July, from $308,200, revised from $312,900. The average price of a new home jumped 9.9% m/m (11.7% y/y) to a record high of $390,400.

The rebound in February sales occurred in three of the four regions of the country. In the Midwest, sales surged 30.9% (50.8% y/y) to 89,000, the highest level since November 2009. Sales in the West gained 7.5% (6.8% y/y) to 157,000, but have moved sideways for the last few months. In the South, sales improved 3.6% (7.9% y/y) to 313,000, but remained below July's high of 364,000. Declining 21.4% (+13.8% y/y) to 33,000 were sales in the Northeast.

The months' supply of homes at the current sales rate eased last month to 5.4 from its high of 5.6 in January. The median number of months a new home was on the market nudged higher to 3.4 (NSA) from 3.2, remaining 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) Feb Jan Dec Feb Y/Y % 2016 2015 2014
Total 592 558 530 12.8 560 501 439
  Northeast 33 42 38 13.8 34 24 28
  Midwest 89 68 62 50.8 67 61 60
  South 313 302 270 7.9 318 285 244
  West 157 146 160 6.8 143 128 108
Median Price (NSA, $) 296,200 308,200 329,900 -4.9 310,333 297,258 283,775
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