New home sales post second highest gain since the recession

by Steve Randall25 Apr 2018

There was 4% rise in sales of newly-built homes in March with a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 694,000 units nationwide.

Figures from the HUD and US Census Bureau reveal a 28.3% rise in the West and 0.8% in the South. Sales decreased 2.4% in the Midwest.

There was also a 54.8% decline in the Northeast according to the figures but Tendayi Kapfidze, chief economist at LendingTree says that the fall to the lowest level for the region since April 2015 may be unreliable.

“The monthly decline was the third largest on record since the series began in 1973. While weather was unfavorable, it is not a sufficient explanation for the decrease which is likely a data problem,” he said.

The rise in the West is not so unusual added Kapfidze, adding that a continuation of that trend would be good news for the market which is heavily challenged by low inventory.

He added that the NHS data is always ‘noisy’ which is why LendingTree favors a 3-month average to balance timeliness with information value. The 3-month average of 668,000 is at the highest level since the financial crisis and encouraging for further growth.

Builders’ reaction to new home sales
Meanwhile, the National Association of Home Builders says that the latest figures coincide with growth in population, employment, and single-family construction in the areas posting increases.

“But with nationwide economic growth and favorable demographics, we can expect continued strengthening of the housing market across the country,” added NAHB senior economist Michael Neal.


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