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Economy in Brief

U.S. New Home Sales Improve as Prices Plummet
by Tom Moeller  January 31, 2019

The government shutdown delayed the report covering November new single-family home sales, but the information in the report is worthy of note. New home sales jumped 16.9% (-7.7% y/y) to 657,000 (SAAR) and recovered October's 8.3% drop. It was the highest level of sales since March. Sales of 564,000 had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. These sales transactions are recorded when sales contracts are signed or deposits are made.

The median price of a new home fell 7.0% (-11.9% y/y) in November to $302,400, the lowest price since February 2017. The average price of a new home declined to $362,400 (-6.7% y/y), also the lowest price since February 2017.

By region, a m/m doubling of sales in the Northeast to 46,000 (150% y/y) was accompanied by a nearly one-third m/m rise (-2.5% y/y) in the Midwest to 77,000. New home sales in the South rose 20.6% to 160,000 (-0.8% y/y) but sales in the West declined 5.9% (-25.9% y/y) to 160,000.

The months' supply of homes on the market declined to 6.0 in November, a five-month low. The figure was higher than the recent low of 4.5 months in July 2016. The median number of months a new home was on the market after its completion rose to a still low 3.1 months.

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) Nov Oct Sep Nov Y/Y % 2017 2016 2015
Total 657 562 613 -7.7 616 560 502
  Northeast 46 23 27 15.0 40 32 25
  Midwest 77 59 77 -2.5 72 69 61
  South 374 310 346 -0.8 341 317 286
  West  160 170 163 -25.9 164 142 130
Median Price (NSA, $) 302,400 325,100 330,300 -11.9 321,633 306,500 293,733
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