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Economy in Brief

U.S. New Home Sales Slip in October But from Upwardly Revised Level
by Sandy Batten  November 26, 2019

Sales of new single-family homes slipped 0.7% m/m (+31.6% y/y) in October to 733,000 units SAAR. However, the 0.7% m/m decline to 701,000 initially reported for September was revised up significantly to a 4.5% m/m rise to 738,000 SAAR. The Action Economics survey had expected sales of 710,000 in October. So, even though sales slipped in October, the marked upward revision to September meant that the level of sales in October was well above expectations. These sales are recorded when contracts are signed or deposits are made.

The median price of a new home rose 2.1% m/m (-3.5% y/y) to $316,700 in October with upward revisions to prices in both September and August. The median price is still 7.8% below the record high of $343,400 in November 2017. The average price of a new home increased 4.5% m/m (-2.9% y/y) to $383,300.

Sales were mixed across the country last month versus September. In October, sales fell in the Northeast and the South, edged up in the Midwest and rose meaningfully in the West. Northeast sales were down 18.2% m/m to 27,000 units. Sales in the South fell 3.3% m/m to 436,000 in October, but the 451,000 of sales in September was the highest since mid-2007. In contrast, sales in the Midwest rose 4.2% m/m to 75,000 and sales in the West gained a solid 7.1% m/m to 195,000.

The months' supply of homes on the market edged up to 5.3 months in October from 5.2 months in September, but remained well below the recent high of 7.4 months reached in December 2018. The median number of months a new home was on the market after its completion fell sharply to 3.1 months in October, its lowest in nearly a year, from 3.5 months in September.

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) Oct Sep Aug Oct Y/Y % 2018 2017 2016
Total 733 738 706 31.6 615 617 562
  Northeast 27 33 32 17.4 32 40 32
  Midwest 75 72 63 17.2 75 72 69
  South 436 451 424 40.6 348 341 318
  West  195 182 187 21.9 160 164 142
Median Price (NSA, $) 316,700 310,200 326,700 -3.5 323,125 321,633 306,500
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