New Home Sales Jumped 4.5% in March

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New home sales jumped to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about 692,000 in March, an increase of 4.5% compared with February and up 3% compared with March 2018, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Regionally, new home sales fell 17.6% in the Northeast, 8.1% in Midwest and 5.9% in the West. However, sales rose 9.6% in the South, where 58% of new home sales occurred in March.

The median sales price of new single-family home was $302,700. The average sales price was $376,000.

As of the end of the month there were about 344,000 new homes available for sale in the U.S., about a six-month supply at the current sales rate.

March marked the highest sales pace for new single-family homes since November 2017.

“These numbers indicate that builders who can produce housing at affordable price points will experience sales growth,” says Greg Ugalde, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), in a statement. “However, builders are still dealing with a shortage of construction workers and buildable lots, which limits housing affordability.”

“We saw a large gain at lower price points where demand is strong,” adds Robert Dietz, chief economist for NAHB. “In March, 50 percent of new home sales were priced below $300,000, compared to 39 percent in March of 2018. These are the price points that are attractive for renters seeking to become homeowners.”

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