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Economy in Brief

U.S. New Home Sales Decline Sharply in November; Prices Weaken
by Tom Moeller  December 23, 2020

• Fall in new home sales is regionally broad-based.

• Prices fall modestly.

New single-family home sales declined 11.0% during November (+20.8% y/y) to 841,000 (SAAR) from 945,000 in October, revised from 999,000. September sales also were revised down to 965,000 from 1,002 million. Sales of 990,000 were expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey.

Sales weakened across the country, led by a 43.3% decline (-24.4% y/y) to 59,000 in the Midwest from 104,000 in October. Sales were at the lowest level since April 2016. In the West, sales fell 17.3% (+19.8% y/y) to 230,000, the first decline since April. In the South, new home sales eased 1.9% (+30.5% y/y) to 513,000, off for the third straight month. In the Northeast, sales eased 2.5% (+18.2% y/y) to 39,000, reversing October's improvement.

The median price of a new home edged 0.7% lower to $335,300 in November (+2.2% y/y). The average price of a new home rose 1.8% (1.5% y/y) to $390,100. These prices are not seasonally adjusted.

The 4.1 months' supply of new homes on the market in November compared to a recent low of 3.5 months in both August and September. Despite this increase, the supply compared to 6.7 months in May 2019. The median number of months a new home stayed on the market after completion fell to 3.6 in November from an upwardly revised 4.1 months in October. These figures were down from a high of 4.5 months in both August and September.

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) Nov Oct Sep Nov Y/Y % 2019 2018 2017
Total 841 945 965 20.8 685 614 616
  Northeast 39 40 39 18.2 30 32 40
  Midwest 59 104 95 -24.4 72 75 72
  South 513 523 562 30.5 400 347 341
  West 230 278 269 19.8 183 160 164
Median Price (NSA, $) 335,300 337,500 340,500 2.2 319,267 323,125 321,633
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