March New Home Sales Rise Sharply

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The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development reported Tuesday morning that sales of new homes in March rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 694,000, an increase of 4% from the revised February rate of 667,000 and a jump of 8.8% compared with the March 2017 rate of 638,000. The consensus estimate from a survey of economists expected a rate of around 630,000. The February rate was revised upward by 49,000.

At the peak in 2005, new home sales posted a seasonally adjusted annual rate of nearly 1.4 million.

The Census Bureau also reported that the median sales price for new homes sold in March rose by $10,400 from $326,800 in February to $337,200, and the average sales price fell by $6,800 to $369,900. At the end of March the number of new homes for sale totaled 301,000, down by 4,000 month over month, and represented a supply of 5.9 months at the current sales rate.

In March, 40% of the estimated 68,000 monthly sales were sales for homes priced at less than $300,000. The percentage is down 3 points compared with the February rate.

Sales of homes priced between $300,000 and $399,999 were down one point to 27% of all sales. Sales of homes in the range of $400,000 to $499,999 rose from 12% to 17%, and sales rose from 11% to 12% for homes sold in a range of $500,000 to $749,999. Home sales for properties priced above $750,000 accounted for 4% of all new home sales in March, down two points compared with February.

In the South, home sales rose by 3,000 month over month in March to 371,000. Home sales tumbled in the Northeast from 42,000 in February to 19,000 in March.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, new home sales are up 8.8% year over year nationally. In the West, new home sales are up 24.7%; in the South sales are up 10.4%; in the Midwest sales are down 2.4%; and in the Northeast sales are down 52.5%.

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