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Economy in Brief

U.S. New Home Sales Ease While Prices Strengthen
by Tom Moeller  March 24, 2020

Sales of new single-family homes declined 4.4% (+14.3% y/y) during February to 765,000 (AR) from 800,000 in January, revised from 764,000. The Action Economics survey expected sales of 754,000.

The median price of a new home rose 6.3% (7.8% y/y) last month to a record $345,900. The average price of a new home also increased to a record of $403,800 (5.3% y/y). The home price figures are not seasonally adjusted.

Sales activity was mixed across the country in February. Sales in the West declined 17.2% (+24.7% y/y) to 222,000 units. In the Midwest, sales fell 7.3% (+15.6% y/y) to 89,000. Working the other way, sales in the Northeast jumped 38.9% (47.1% y/y) to 50,000 while sales in the South edged 1.0% higher (6.3% y/y) to 404,000.

The supply of homes on the market rose to 5.0 months in February, but the January figure was revised down to 4.8 months. These figures were below the high of 7.4 months at the end of 2018. The medium number of months that a new home was for sale held steady at 3.3, down from 14 months at the beginning of the economic expansion.

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.

Federal Reserve issues FOMC statement (here).

U.S. New Single-Family Home Sales (SAAR, 000s) Feb Jan Dec Feb Y/Y % 2019 2018 2017
Total 765 800 724 14.3 682 615 617
  Northeast 50 36 39 47.1 31 32 40
  Midwest 89 96 84 15.6 71 75 72
  South 404 400 393 6.3 399 348 341
  West  222 268 208 24.7 182 160 164
Median Price (NSA, $) 345,900 325,300 327,700 7.8 318,817 323,125 321,633
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