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Economy in Brief

U.S. New Home Sales Decline Unexpectedly in May
by Tom Moeller  June 23, 2021

• Sales fall for second straight month.

• Decline centers in the South.

• Median home prices set new record.

Sales of new single-family homes declined 5.9% (+9.2% y/y) during May to 769,000 units (SAAR) from 817,000 during April, revised from 863,000. It was the lowest level of sales in twelve months. March sales were revised to 886,000 from 917,000. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 870,000 sales in May.

Sales in the South fell 14.5% (+3.1% y/y) to 432,000 units after weakening 10.1% to 505,000 in April, revised from 545,000. It also was the lowest level of sales in twelve months. Rising by one-third (57.6% y/y) to 52,000 were sales in the Northeast. April sales were revised to 39,000 from 44,000. Sales in the West rose 6.7% both m/m and y/y to 190,000 from 178,000 in April, revised from 164,000. Sales in the Midwest held at 95,000 (28.4% y/y) but April sales were revised from 110,000.

The median price of a new home rose 2.5% (18.1% y/y) to $374,400, following a 4.9% April gain to $365,300, revised from $372,400. Working 2.3% higher (16.8% y/y) to $430,600 was the average sales price. April's average price was revised to $420,900 from $435,400. These prices are not seasonally adjusted.

The supply of new homes for sale rose to 5.1 months in May, the most in 12 months. The median number of months a new home stayed on the market was 3.5, following 4.5 months in April and 5.0 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) May Apr Mar May Y/Y % 2020 2019 2018
Total 769 817 886 9.2 828 683 614
  Northeast 52 39 51 57.6 37 30 32
  Midwest 95 95 113 28.4 94 72 75
  South 432 505 562 3.1 476 399 347
  West 190 178 160 6.7 221 182 159
Median Price (NSA, $) 374,400 365,300 348,300 18.1 334,992 319,267 323,125
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