In January, sales of newly built single-family homes increased 3.7 percent over the previous month and are now 5.5 percent higher than last year at the same time, according to new numbers released by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. But though the improvement was solid, it didn’t meet economists’ expectations. Surveyed economists were predicting a 6.3 percent sales increase. Weather could be among the possible reasons sales didn’t perform as well as expected. For example, a look at regional results shows sales up by double digits in the Northeast and Midwest. The South also saw gains, rising 4.3 percent from the month before. In the West, however, sales fell – which may be due to the fact that the west coast has had an unusually rainy winter. Overall, though, the news was positive, with sales signaling a boost in consumer confidence and a healthy level of demand among prospective buyers. It also shows that interested buyers have not been deterred by the rise in mortgage rates. The median sales price of new homes sold in January was $312,900. The average sales price was $360,900. More here.
The number of new homes sold last year was 12.2 percent higher than it was the year before, according to new estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The numbers show an estimated 563,000 new homes were sold in 2016, compared to 501,000 one year earlier. Still, much like the recently released existing-home sales data, the report also shows sales slowing at the end of the year. In fact, December sales fell 10.4 percent from November’s estimate. That is likely due to a number of factors, however – including the holiday season, rising mortgage rates at the end of the year, and the natural volatility of month-over-month sales numbers. Despite the December drop, sales still managed to have their best year since 2007 and, with builders recently expressing renewed confidence in the market, this year could see yet another improvement. Also in the report, the median price of a new house sold in December was $322,500; the average sales price was $384,000. Regionally speaking, sales were up in the Northeast but down in the Midwest, South, and West. More here.
Estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development show new home sales in November increased 5.2 percent from the month before. The improvement exceeded economists’ expectations and pushed sales 16.5 percent above last year’s level. Analysts believe the recent spike in sales of both new and existing homes may be due to the fact that mortgage rates have been rising over the past few weeks. Home buyers who may have otherwise waited until spring to buy a house may be shopping for a home this winter in hopes of locking in a lower mortgage rate. Whatever their motivation, though, new home buyers weren’t equally represented across the country. In fact, regional results show sales flat in the Northeast and down 3.1 percent in the South. On the other hand, new home sales were up 7.7 percent in the West and surged 43.8 percent in the Midwest. Also in the report, the number of new homes for sale rose 1.6 percent to the highest level since 2009. This is good news for prospective buyers, as an increasing number of new homes for sale could begin to relieve upward pressure on home prices, which would help counteract the impact higher mortgage rates have on affordability. More here.
In September, new home sales were 29.8 percent higher than they were at the same time last year, according to new numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The data shows sales up 3.1 percent from the month before and at their second-highest level since the recovery began. That’s good news for the housing market because any increase in new home sales helps spur more new home construction, which raises for-sale inventory and moderates price increases on all homes up for sale. As it is, the median price of a new home sold in September was $313,500; the average sales price was $377,700. And, with the number of new homes for sale lower than the month before, prices will likely continue to rise in the near term. Still a more favorable labor market and low mortgage rates have helped balance higher prices and kept buyer demand high. As an example, economists and analysts predicted a sales decline for September, making the results both unexpected and a good indication that potential home buyers aren’t being deterred by higher prices. More here.