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Economy in Brief

U.S. New Home Sales Jump; Prices Ease
by Tom Moeller  January 27, 2016

Sales of new single-family homes strengthened 10.8% during December to 544,000 from 491,000 in November, revised from 490,000. The increase was helped by new closing procedures which shifted sales out of November. The gain left sales 9.9% higher than December 2014, and up 14.6% for the full year. Sales of 505,000 had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey.

The median price of a new home decreased 2.7% to $288,900 versus November and fell 4.3% y/y. During all of last year, prices averaged a 3.8% increase. The average sales price declined 4.9% m/m to $346,400, off 7.3% y/y.

Home sales in the Midwest increased 31.6% (38.9% y/y) to 75,000, the highest level since April 2008. Sales in the West rose 21.0% (21.9% y/y) to 167,000, an eight-year high. In the Northeast, sales gained 20.8% (-6.5% y/y) and made up most of the prior month's decline. Sales in the South improved 0.4%, unchanged y/y and over the last two months.

The inventory of unsold homes increased 11.8% y/y and there was a 5.2 months supply at the current sales rate. That figure was up from 4.0 months in January 2013. The number of months a new home was on the market remained near the record low of 3.0 months.

The data in this report are available in Haver's USECON database. The consensus expectation figure from the Action Economics Forecast Survey is available in the AS1REPNA database.

U.S. New Single-Family Home Sales (SAAR, 000s) Dec Nov Oct Y/Y %, SA 2015 2014 2013
Total 544 491 482 9.9 501 437 430
  Northeast 29 24 34 -6.5 24 28 31
  Midwest 75 57 59 38.9 75 58 61
  South 273 272 273 0.0 285 244 233
  West 167 138 116 21.9 167 110 106
Median Price (NSA, $) 288,900 298,000 296,600 -4.3 294,575 283,775 265,092
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