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Economy in Brief

U.S. New Home Sales Increase As Prices Fall
by Tom Moeller  April 23, 2019

New home sales increased 4.5% (3.0% y/y) during March to 692,000 (AR) following a rise to 662,000 in February, revised from 667,000. It was the highest level of sales since November 2017 and up from the low of 552,000 this past October. Sales of 648,000 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 declined 4.0% last month (-9.7% y/y) to $302,700 after rising 3.9% to a little-revised $315,200 in February. It was the lowest price in just over two years. The average price of a new home fell 2.4% (+1.8% y/y to $376,000.

Sales rose in most regions of the country. Sales in the Midwest strengthened 17.6% (1.2% y/y) to 87,000, repeating the percentage gain in February. New home sales in the West improved 6.7% (-4.3% y/y) to 176,000, the highest level in twelve months. In the South, sales rose 3.6% (9.3% y/y) to 401,000, the highest level since July 2007. To the downside, new home sales in the Northeast declined by nearly one-quarter m/m (-20.0% y/y) to 28,000  and reversed February's rise.

With the increase in sales, the months' supply of homes on the market declined to 6.0 in March, the lowest level in nine months. That was down from a high of  7.4 months in December. The median number of months a new home was on the market after its completion eased to 3.6 months, still up from the low of 2.7 months in October.

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) Mar Feb Jan Mar Y/Y % 2018 2017 2016
Total 692 662 625 3.0 617 616 560
  Northeast 28 36 29 -20.0 33 40 32
  Midwest 87 74 63 1.2 76 72 69
  South 401 387 372 9.3 349 341 317
  West  176 165 161 -4.3 160 164 142
Median Price (NSA, $) 302,700 315,200 303,500 -9.7 323,125 321,633 306,500
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