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Economy in Brief

U.S. New Home Sales and Prices Increase
by Tom Moeller  March 5, 2019

New home sales increased 3.7% to 621,000 during December following a November increase to 599,000, revised from 657,000. It was the highest level of sales in six months. During all of 2018, new home sales increased 0.9% to 621,000, the highest level since 2007. December sales of 585,000 had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The government shutdown delayed this report by roughly five weeks. These sales transactions are recorded when sales contracts are signed or deposits are made.

The median price of a new home rose 5.0% (-7.2% y/y) in December to $318,600. For the full year, the median price was fairly steady y/y at a record $321,483. The average price of a new home rose slightly m/m to $377,000 (-6.4% y/y) and was steady for the full year at $377,992.

By region, sales in the Northeast rose to 42,000 (16.7% y/y) while sales in the South improved to 375,000 (7.4% y/y). New home sales in the West were fairly steady at 143,000 (-23.9% y/y), but sales in the Midwest declined to 61,000 (-3.2% y/y).

The months' supply of homes on the market eased to 6.6 in December, but was up from 5.5 months twelve months earlier. The figure was increased versus the low of 4.5 months in July 2016. The median number of months a new home was on the market after its completion increased to a still low 3.3 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.

Modeling Financial Crises from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco is available here.

U.S. New Single-Family Home Sales (SAAR, 000s) Dec Nov Oct Dec Y/Y % 2018 2017 2016
Total 621 599 549 -2.4 621 616 560
  Northeast 42 39 23 16.7 34 40 32
  Midwest 61 72 63 -3.2 76 72 69
  South 375 357 300 7.4 350 341 317
  West  143 141 163 -23.9 162 164 142
Median Price (NSA, $) 318,600 303,500 324,700 -7.2 321,483 321,633 306,500
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