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Economy in Brief

U.S. New Home Sales Improved Again in August
by Kathleen Stephansen, CBE  September 24, 2021

• Sales have increased two months in a row.

• The Northeast, South and West posted monthly gains.

• Median home prices were unchanged at record high.

The new home market continued to recover during August. Sales of new single-family homes rose 1.5% (-24.3% y/y) to 740,000 (SAAR) during August, following a 6.4% (-25.0% y/y) rise in sales in July to 729,000, revised sharply up from 708,000. Despite last month's improvement, sales remain 25.5% below their January 2021 peak of 993,000. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 709,000 sales in August.

The August's sales improvement was led by solid gains in the Northeast and South. Sales in the Northeast jumped 26.1% (-37.0% y/y) to 29,000, while sales in the South rose 6.0% (-23.0% y/y) to 445,000. Sales rose 1.4% (-16.3% y/y) in the West to 215,000 but fell 31.1% (-46.9% y/y) in the Midwest to 51,000, the lowest level since January 2014.

The median price of a new home was unchanged in August from July, at a record high of $390,900. July had been revised up from $390,500. The median price in August stood 20.1% above its August 2020 price level. The average sales price of a new home declined 1.2% (14.7% y/y) in August to $443,000 from a record $448,700 in July. These prices are not seasonally adjusted.

The supply of new homes for sale rose slightly to 6.1 months in August from 6.0 months in July and up from a low of 3.5 months from August through October of last year, and the most since April 2020. The median number of months a new home stayed on the market fell to 3.6 months in August from 4.4 months in July and from the nine-year high of 5.1 months in March.

New home sales activity and prices 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) Aug Jul Jun Aug Y/Y % 2020 2019 2018
Total 740 729 685 -24.3 822 683 617
  Northeast 29 23 28 -37.0 37 30 32
  Midwest 51 74 86 -46.9 93 72 76
  South 445 420 391 -23.0 474 399 348
  West 215 212 180 -16.3 218 182 160
Median Price (NSA, $) 390,900 390,900 375,700 20.1 336,900 321,500 326,400
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