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Economy in Brief

U.S. New Home Sales Fall but Prices Increase
by Tom Moeller  August 23, 2018

The market for new homes varied greatly last month. New single-family home sales declined 1.7% (+12.8% y/y) during July to 627,000 (AR) after a 2.4% June fall to 638,000, revised from 631,000. It remained the lowest level of sales since October and was down from November's high of 712,000. Expectations had been for 648,000 sales in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Sales are calculated when contracts are closed and are tabulated by the National Association of Realtors.

The median price of a new home strengthened 6.0% to $328,700 (-4.2% y/y) from $310,000, revised from $302,100. It was the highest price since March. The average price of a new home increased 6.7% (5.9% y/y) to $394,300, the highest price since December.

New home sales were mixed last month throughout the country. Home sales in the Northeast fell by roughly one-half both m/m and y/y to 21,000. In the South, new home sales eased 3.3% (+17.2% y/y) to 355,000, a three-month low. New home sales in the West gained 10.9% (18.5%) to 173,000, a four-month high. In the Midwest sales rose 9.9% (18.2% y/y) to 78,000 and made up most of the decline during June.

The months' supply of homes on the market rose m/m to 5.9, the highest level since August. The median number of months a new home was on the market fell to 3.2, the lowest point since December.

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.

Where We Stand: Assessment of Economic Conditions and Implications for Monetary Policy from Robert S. Kaplan, President and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas is available here.

U.S. New Single-Family Home Sales (SAAR, 000s) Jul Jun May Jul Y/Y % 2017 2016 2015
Total 627 638 654 12.8 616 560 502
  Northeast 21 44 33 -48.8 40 32 25
  Midwest 78 71 84 18.2 72 69 61
  South 355 367 386 17.2 341 317 286
  West  173 156 151 18.5 164 142 130
Median Price (NSA, $) 328,700 310,000 313,600 1.8 321,633 306,500 293,733
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