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Economy in Brief

U.S. New Home Sales Improve During January
by Tom Moeller  February 24, 2021

• Sales post widespread gains in most of country.

• Median house prices decline.

Sales of new single-family homes rose 4.3% (19.3% y/y) to 923,000 (SAAR) during January following a 5.5% December rise to 885,000, revised from 842,000. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 860,000 sales in January.

Sales improved throughout most of the country. Midwest sales rose 12.6% (10.3% y/y) to 107,000, a three-month high. In the West, sales improved 6.8% (-6.3% y/y) to 236,000. Sales in South gained 3.0% (40.4% y/y) to 549,000. Working 13.9% lower (-8.8% y/y) were sales in the Northeast to 31,000, down from a June 2020 high of 52,000.

The median price of a new home fell 1.9% (+5.3% y/y) in January to $346,400, the lowest level in three months. Working higher was the average price of a new home by 3.6% (6.5% y/y) to $408,800. These prices are not seasonally adjusted.

The supply of new homes on the market in January was 4.0 months of sales, down from a high of 6.8 months last April. The median number of months a new home stayed on the market after completion declined to 2.9 and approximated the record low. It was 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.

How Should We Think about Full Employment in the Federal Reserve's Dual Mandate? from Fed Governor Lael Brainard is available here.

U.S. New Single-Family Home Sales (SAAR, 000s) Jan Dec Nov Jan Y/Y % 2020 2019 2018
Total 923 885 839 19.3 815 683 617
  Northeast 31 36 31 -8.8 37 30 32
  Midwest 107 95 75 10.3 90 72 76
  South 549 533 514 40.4 472 399 348
  West 236 221 219 -6.3 216 182 160
Median Price (NSA, $) 346,400 353,100 349,800 5.3 334,700 321,500 326,400
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