U.S. Census: New Home Sales Rose 25.4% In October

Although sales of existing homes were down, nationwide, sales of new homes were up a whopping 25.4% in October compared to September, according to data released this week by the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

On a seasonally adjusted basis, about 444,000 new single-family homes were sold so far in 2013 as of October. This is 21.6% above the approximately 365,000 new units that had sold on an annual basis as of October 2012.

The report is in keeping with the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Builder Application Survey, which shows that applications for new home purchases increased by 11%, on an unadjusted basis, in October compared to September.

About 40,000 new homes were sold in the U.S. in October, according to the MBA's report.

For 2013, a total of 509,000 new homes had been sold as of October, according to the MBA.

According to the Census Bureau/HUD report, the median sales price of new houses sold in October 2013 was $245,800; the average sales price was $321,700. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of October was 183,000. This represents a supply of 4.9 months at the current sales rate.

While new homes tend to be pricier than old ones – the average price of a home built after 1990 is currently $256,292, while the average price for a home built before 1990 is $233,221, according to National Association of Realtors – they are currently high in demand, as inventories remain low in most areas of the U.S. This is because the construction market is struggling to keep up with demand, due to a lack of skilled labor and the rising cost of both labor and materials.

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