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Economy in Brief

U.S. New Home Sales Decline Unexpectedly
by Carol Stone, CBE  August 23, 2017

Sales of new single-family homes in July fell 9.4% to 571,000 following an upwardly revised June gain of 1.9% to 630,000. The latter was revised from 610,000. The July volume was the lowest since December's 548,000. Expectations in the Action Economics Forecast Survey had envisioned 610,000 sales, which would have been unchanged from the original June report.

The median price of a new home rose 0.7% (6.3% y/y) to $313,700. June's median price was revised upward modestly to $311,600. The average price of a new home rose 0.3% (+4.6% y/y) to $371,200.

The July drop in home sales was spread around much of the country. In fact, the only region with a gain was the Midwest, where sales rose 6.2% to 69,000 (-12.7% y/y); June sales there had risen 1.6% to 65,000. The other three regions saw declines, a couple of them quite sizable. In the Northeast, sales amounted to 32,000, down 23.8% (-13.5% y/y) from June's 42,000, when they had risen 2.4%. Those in the West totaled 144,000, down 21.3% in the month (up 1.4% y/y), a reversal of June's 16.6% gain. Sales in the South, the region with the largest volume of sales, were 326,000, off 4.1% from June (-11.7% y/y), which, in turn, was off 4.5% from May.

The months' supply of homes for sale at the current sales rate was 5.8, up from June's 5.2 months, and the highest since September 2015, when it was also 5.8 months. The median number of months a new home was on the market was unchanged from June at 2.9 and the lowest since the same amount in December 2015.

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

U.S. New Single-Family Home Sales (SAAR, 000s) Jul Jun May Jul Y/Y % 2016 2015 2014
Total 571 630 618 -8.9 561 503 440
  Northeast 32 42 41 -13.5 32 25 28
  Midwest 69 65 64 -12.7 69 61 58
  South 326 340 356 -11.7 317 286 244
  West 144 183 157 1.4 142 130 110
Median Price (NSA, $) 313,700 311,600 322,800 6.3 310,567 297,258 283,775
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