New Home Sales Rise 2.1% in May

House for Sale
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The U.S. Census Bureau this morning released data on new single-family home sales for May. Sales rose 2.1% month over month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 476,000, from an upwardly revised April sales figure of 466,000. Economists had been expecting a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 466,000. The May rate is 29% above the rate for May 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 May was $263,900, about 2.8% below the April median, and the average sales price was $307,800, down about 6.9% from April. The median sales price for a new house in April was $271,600 and the average sales price was $330,800.

At the end of May the number of new homes for sale totaled 161,000, a supply of 4.1 months, essentially flat with inventory at the end of April.

The sharp price drops in May follow an almost equally sharp rise in prices from March to April. The tight inventory suggests that prices could resume their rise until the supply of new houses increases.

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