May New Home Sales Bounce Back on Sales of Lower-Priced Homes

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The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development reported Monday morning that sales of new homes in May rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 689,000, an increase of 6.7% from the revised April rate of 646,000 and a jump of 14.1% compared with the May 2017 rate of 604,000. The consensus estimate from a survey of economists expected a rate of around 665,000. The March rate was revised downward by 26,000.

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 May rose by just $600, from $312,400 in April to $313,000, and the average sales price fell by $38,800 to $368,500. At the end of May, the number of new homes for sale totaled 299,900, down by just 100 month over month, and represented a supply of 5.2 months at the current sales rate.

In May, 46% of the estimated 65,000 monthly total was the result of sales for homes priced at less than $300,000. The percentage is unchanged from the reported April rate.

Sales of homes priced between $300,000 and $399,999 rose two points to 24% of all sales. Sales of homes in the range of $400,000 to $499,999 remained unchanged at 14%, and sales fell 3% for homes sold in a range of $500,000 to $749,999. Home sales for properties priced above $750,000 accounted for 6% of all new home sales in May, down three points compared with April.

In the South, home sales rose by 6,000 month over month in May to 38,000. Home sales slipped in the Midwest from 9,000 in April to 8,000 in May.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, new home sales year-over-year are up 14.1% nationally. In the South, new home sales are up 19.2%; in the Northeast, sales are down 16.3%; in the Midwest, sales are up 40.3%; and in the West, sales are up 0.6%.

At the end of May, the for-sale inventory totaled 298,000, up 7,000 month over month. Inventory rose by 1,000 in the Northeast to 22,000 and by 2,000 in the Midwest to 41,000. In the South new homes for sale remained flat at 157,000 while supply in the West rose by 5,000 to 79,000.