April New Home Sales Inch Down 1.5 Percent, Stay Close to Post-Recession High

May 23, 2018

Sales of newly built, single-family homes edged down 1.5 percent in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 662,000 units after a downwardly revised March report, according to newly released data by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau.

“Even with this minor dip, new home sales continue to trend upward and reflect builders’ overall confidence in the market,” said NAHB Chairman Randy Noel, a custom home builder from LaPlace, La. “Builders are optimistic that more prospective buyers will enter the market in the months ahead.”

A new home sale occurs when a sales contract is signed or a deposit is accepted. The home can be in any stage of construction: not yet started, under construction or completed. In addition to adjusting for seasonal effects, the April reading of 662,000 units is the number of homes that would sell if this pace continued for the next 12 months.

“With job growth, rising incomes and overall economic strengthening, we can expect housing demand to continue to grow, particularly among millennials and other newcomers to the market,” said NAHB Senior Economist Michael Neal. “However, builders need to manage rising construction costs as well as regulatory hurdles to keep their homes competitively priced.”

Regionally, new home sales rose 11.1 percent in the Northeast and 0.3 percent in the South. Sales remained unchanged in the Midwest and dropped 7.9 percent in the West after a very strong March reading.

The inventory of new home sales for sale was 300,000 in April, which is a 5.4-month supply at the current sales pace. The median sales price of new houses sold was $312,400.