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Economy in Brief

U.S. New Home Sales Surge in March
by Tom Moeller  April 23, 2021

• Sales rebound from weather-depressed February.

• Gains spread throughout most of country.

• Median home prices decline.

New home sales surged last month to the highest level since August 2006. Sales of new single-family homes surged 20.7% (66.8% y/y) to 1.021 million units (SAAR) during March after declining 16.2% to 846,000 in February, revised from 775,000 units. January sales were revised to 1,010 million units from 948,000. Earlier figures also were revised. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 885,000 sales in March.

Sales in the South jumped 40.2% (90.1% y/y) to 694,000 after falling 14.7% in February. In the Midwest, sales improved 30.7% (78.4% y/y) to 132,000 and reversed their 28.9% February drop. Sales in Northeast gained 20.0% (108.7% y/y) after an 18.4% fall during February. Declining were new home sales in the West by roughly one-third (-2.0% y/y) to 147,000 after weakening 12.1% during February.

The median price of a new home fell 4.4% (+0.8% y/y) in March to $330,800, the third consecutive monthly decline. Working 0.9% higher (6.0% y/y) to $397,800 was the average price of a new home, following a 4.3% February drop. These prices are not seasonally adjusted.

The supply of new homes for sale fell to 3.6 months in March and reversed the rise to 4.4 months in February. This equaled the Q3'20 low which was the lowest figure since March 2004. The median number of months a new home stayed on the market after completion held steady at 3.6, after surging to 4.5 months in both August and September of last year. The figure has been trending sideways since 2013.

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) Mar Feb Jan Mar Y/Y % 2020 2019 2018
Total 1,021 846 1,010 66.8 825 685 614
  Northeast 48 40 49 108.7 37 30 32
  Midwest 132 101 142 78.4 94 72 75
  South 694 495 580 90.1 474 400 347
  West 147 210 239 -2.0 220 183 160
Median Price (NSA, $) 330,800 345,900 362,200 0.8 334,992 319,267 323,125
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