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Economy in Brief

U.S. New Home Sales Drop Back in December
by Carol Stone, CBE  January 25, 2018

Sales of new single-family homes fell 9.3% (14.1% y/y) to 625,000 (SAAR) in December; November's sales were 689,000, revised down from 733,000 reported initially. Expectations in the Action Economics Forecast Survey had been for 680,000 sales. Sales for all of 2017 totaled 608,000, up 8.4% from 2016.

The median price of a new home was $335,400 in December, up a mere 0.1% (2.6% y/y) from November's revised $334,900; that earlier figure was originally estimated at $318,700. The average price of a new home rose 4.0% to $398,900 (+4.3% y/y), reversing a November decline.

New home sales decreased in all four regions of the country in December. In the Northeast, they were off just 1,000 to 41,000 (+10.8% y/y). But the other three areas had remarkably similar declines very close to 10%. Indeed, in the Midwest, it was exactly 10.0%, as December sales were 63,000 (+3.1% y/y), down from 70,000 the month before. Sales in the South were 331,000, off 9.8% (+15.7% y/y) from November's 367,000. And in the West, sales were 190,000, down 9.5% (+18.8% y/y) from November's 210,000.

With the December dip in sales, the months' supply of homes on the market rose to 5.7 from 4.9 in November. The December amount was, however, equal to the average of the prior four months. The median number of months a new home was on the market was still low at 3.2, and it was equal to the average of those monthly medians for the entire 2017 year.

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

U.S. New Single-Family Home Sales (SAAR, 000s) Dec Nov Oct Dec Y/Y % 2017 2016 2015
Total 625 689 599 14.1 608 561 503
  Northeast 41 42 40 10.8 40 32 25
  Midwest 63 70 69 -3.1 71 69 61
  South 331 367 344 15.7 325 318 286
  West 190 210 146 18.8 162 142 130
Median Price (NSA, $) 335,400 334,900 318,700 2.6 321,100 307,800 294,200
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