April New Home Sales Slip; Lower-Priced Homes Post Big Gain

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The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development reported Tuesday morning that sales of new homes in April totaled a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 662,000, a decrease of 1.5% from the revised March rate of 672,000 and a jump of 11.6% compared with the April 2017 rate of 593,000. The consensus estimate from a survey of economists expected a rate of around 677,000. The March rate was revised downward by 32,000.

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 fell by $24,800 from $337,200 in March to $312,400, and the average sales price rose by $37,400 to $407,300. At the end of April, the number of new homes for sale totaled 300,000, down by 1,000 month over month, and represented a supply of 5.4 months at the current sales rate.

In April, 46% of the estimated 64,000 monthly total were sales for homes priced at less than $300,000. The percentage is up six points compared with the reported March rate.

Sales of homes priced between $300,000 and $399,999 were down 11 points to 18% of all sales. Sales of homes in the range of $400,000 to $499,999 slipped from 15% to 14%, and sales rose were unchanged at 12% for homes sold in a range of $500,000 to $749,999. Home sales for properties priced above $750,000 accounted for 10% of all new home sales in April, up six points compared with March.

In the South, home sales rose by 2,000 month over month in April to 159,000. Home sales slipped in the Northeast from 23,000 in March to 21,000 in April.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, new home sales were up year over year by 11.6% nationally. In the West, new home sales were up 18.9%; in the South sales were up 6.0%; in the Midwest sales were down 26.4%; and in the Northeast sales were up 5.3%.