New Home Sales Nudge Forward In April - May 23, 2013
For much of the year, the U.S. housing market has remained one of the few consistent pillars of the domestic economic expansion. And the housing numbers issued earlier today were clearly in keeping with this favorable trend.
Specifically, the Commerce Department has reported that new home sales rose 2.3% last month, to a seasonally adjusted 454,000. In March, home sales had initially been estimated at 417,000. Subsequently, though, they were revised up to 444,000 for the month.
All told, the latest month's sales were 29.0% ahead of the prior-year level, which was keeping with the recent trend of outsized year-to-year improvement. Moreover, home prices continue to ratchet higher. Here, for example, the median price of a new home in April of this year was $271,600. In March of this year, the median home price was $250,700. Once again, the year-to-year jump was noteworthy, going from $236,400 last April to the aforementioned $271,600.
The average price of a new home sold tracked a similar path. Specifically, the average price last month was $330,800. In March, that price was $286,700, and improvement of 15.4%. From a year ago, meantime, the gain nearly as imposing, increasing from $287,900.
Meanwhile, total sales jumped nearly 29% in the past year, climbing from 352,000 last April to the aforementioned 454,000 in April of this year. At the same time, even though sales dropped on a month-to-month basis in the Northeast and the Midwest, the two smallest regions, they rose in the South and the West, adding nearly 11% in the latter region from the month before.
Finally, inventories remain very low, totaling just 156,000 homes, which works out to just a supply of 4.1 months at the present sales pace. An inventory level of some six months is considered healthy. At the trough of the housing cycle, inventories had risen to about a year. All told, this was a rather strong report in a consistently strengthening market.
At the time of this article's writing, the author did not have positions in any of the companies mentioned.