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Economy in Brief

U.S. New Home Sales Decline While Prices Rise
by Tom Moeller  May 23, 2019

New home sales declined 6.9% (+7.0% y/y) during April to 673,000 (SAAR) from 723,000 in March, revised from 692,000. Despite the decline, sales were 20.8% higher than the recent low in October. Sales of 671,000 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 rebounded 11.9% last month (8.8% y/y) to $342,200 after falling 3.3% to $305,800 during March. The April level was just below the record high of $343,400 logged during November 2017. The average price of a new home rose 5.7% (2.2% y/y to $393,700.

Sales declined in most regions of the country. Sales in the Midwest fell 7.4% last month (+3.6% y/y) to 87,000. New home sales in the West declined 8.3% (+16.8% y/y) to 188,000. In the South, sales were off 7.3% (+5.1% y/y) to 369,000. Increasing by 11.5% to 29,000 were new home sales in the Northeast. Nevertheless, sales remained well below last year's high reached in June.

The months' supply of homes on the market increased to 5.9 in April, but it remained well below the 7.4 months' supply reached in December. The median number of months a new home was on the market after its completion eased to 3.5 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) Apr Mar Feb Apr Y/Y % 2018 2017 2016
Total 673 723 669 7.0 617 613 561
  Northeast 29 26 33 -12.1 32 38 34
  Midwest 87 94 82 3.6 76 70 68
  South 369 398 380 5.1 349 338 318
  West  188 205 174 16.8 162 162 143
Median Price (NSA, $) 342,200 305,800 316,100 8.8 323,125 321,633 306,500
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