The U.S. Census Bureau this morning released data on new single-family home sales for March. Sales rose 1.5% month-over-month, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 417,000, from an upwardly revised February sales figure of 411,000. Economists had been expecting a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 419,000. The March rate is 18.5% above the rate for March 2012. 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 was $247,000, about 6.8% below the February median, and the average sales price was $279,900, down about 9.7% from February. The median sales price for a new house in February was $264,900 and the average sales price was $310,000.
At the end of March, the number of new homes for sale totaled 153,000, a supply of 4.4 months, up slightly from an inventory totaling 150,000 at the end of February.
The decline in the median sales price of a house fell by the greatest amount since February 2011. That could be due primarily to seasonal factors.
The inventory level essentially was unchanged in the month of March. Again that could be due to seasonal factors. But inventory levels are growing and that is a positive sign for the housing market going into the spring and summer selling season.