New Home Sales and Prices Stoke U.S. Economic Growth

New homeIn its May MarketPulse report, residential property research and services firm CoreLogic Inc. (NYSE: CLGX) identifies the trends it sees in the U.S. economy and in the U.S. real estate market. The company notes that residential investment continues to rise and that it is making a larger contribution to overall economic growth in the country.

That contribution primarily reflects new home sales, and the areas experiencing the strongest growth are those where home prices fell the most. CoreLogic looks at home prices grouped by the nine U.S. Census Bureau divisions. Home prices fell the most in the Mountain and Pacific regions, led by Nevada, Arizona and California. The Mountain states saw a decline of 41% in home prices from a peak in 2006, while the Pacific states saw a decline of 39% from the peak. Prices in the Mountain states are up 9% in the past 14 months and prices are up 5% in the Pacific states.

CoreLogic also reports that new home sales are up 19% compared with sales in March of 2012. New homes have been competing with short sales and foreclosures, but this situation has begun to change as the inventory of distressed and foreclosed homes has fallen.

Once again, the recovery is strongest in the West, where sales of distressed inventory have fallen by a third in the past 12 months and buyers have turned to new home purchases. As new home sales rise, so do new home prices, which are up 10.5% in the 12 months to March 2013. And prices are increasing in 80% of markets. CoreLogic notes, “The new home sales recovery is acting like a virtuous and targeted economic stimulus package.”

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