The U.S. Census Bureau this morning released data on new single-family home sales for April. Sales rose 2.3% month-over-month, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 454,000, from an upwardly revised March sales figure of 444,000. Economists had been expecting a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 425,000. The April rate is 29% above the rate for April 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 April was $271,600, about 8.3% above the March median, and the average sales price was $330,800, up about 15.4% from March. The median sales price for a new house in March was $250,700 and the average sales price was $286,70000.
At the end of April the number of new homes for sale totaled 156,000, a supply of 4.1 months, up from an inventory totaling 151,000 at the end of March.
The sharp price increases in April follow an almost equally sharp drop in prices from February to March. The tight inventory suggests that prices could continue to rise until the supply of new houses increases. Rising mortgage rates also could begin to weigh on sales.