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Economy in Brief

U.S. New Home Sales and Prices Improve
by Tom Moeller  March 29, 2019

The housing market has been exhibiting strength recently. New home sales increased 4.9% (0.6% y/y) during February to 667,000 (SAAR) from 636,000 in January, revised from 607,000. December sales also were revised up. It was the highest level of sales since last March. February sales of 617,000 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 increased 3.8% (-3.6% y/y) to $315,300 from 303,900 during January, revised from $317,200. The average price of a new home rebounded 6.0% (1.6% y/y to $379,600 and recovered January's decline.

By region, sales patterns remained mixed. Purchases in the Northeast surged by roughly one-quarter to 33,000 (-28.3% y/y), while sales in the Midwest also strengthened by roughly one-quarter to 77,000 (-3.7% y/y). New home sales in the South improved 1.8% to 391,000 (6.8% y/y), the highest level since July 2007. In the West, sales held steady m/m at 166,000 (-2.9% y/y), the highest level since July of last year.

With the improvement in sales, the months' supply of homes on the market declined to 6.1 in February, the lowest level since June. It took longer, however, to sell a new home. The median number of months a new home was on the market after its completion increased to 3.8 months, the most since April.

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) Feb Jan Dec Feb Y/Y % 2018 2017 2016
Total 667 636 588 0.6 620 616 560
  Northeast 33 26 30 -28.3 33 40 32
  Midwest 77 60 63 -3.7 76 72 69
  South 391 384 363 6.8 350 341 317
  West  166 166 132 -2.9 161 164 142
Median Price (NSA, $) 315,300 303,900 322,800 -3.6 322,550 321,633 306,500
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