New home sales rise in April

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New home sales rise in April

By Andy Carlo - 05/26/2020
Despite nationwide shutdowns due to the COVID-19 crisis, new home sales showed a slight rise for April.

Sales of new single-family houses in April edged upward 0.6% to a seasonally adjusted rate of 623,000, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau reported today.

The March rate was revised to 619,000 from a previously reported rate of 627,000.  But the latest figure is 6.2% below the April 2019 estimate of 664,000.

The latest report also noted that seasonally adjusted estimates of housing units sold, housing units for sale, and the months' supply of new housing have been revised back to January 2015. 

The median sales price of new houses sold in April 2020 was $309,900, falling 5% from an adjusted March price of $326,000. The average sales price declined 4.1% to $364,500 from a revised March average sales price of $377,400.

“The April data for new home sales show the potential for housing to lead any recovery for the overall economy,” said NAHB Chairman Dean Mon. “Because the housing industry entered this downturn underbuilt, there exists considerable pent-up housing demand on the sidelines. The experience of the virus mitigation has emphasized the importance of home for most Americans.”

Here's how April sales break down by region compared to to the previous month:

  • In the Northeast, sales climbed 8.7% to a rate of 25,000.

  • In the Midwest, sales increased 2.4% to a rate of 86,000.

  • In the South, sales rose 2.4% to a rate of 379,000.

  • In the West, sales are down 6.3% to a rate of 133,000.

“The April estimates from Census came in better than forecast, so there is a possibility of a downward revision in the next release,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “Nonetheless, the data matches recent commentary from builders and reflects recent gains in mortgage applications. Despite significant challenges in overall economic conditions, the months’ supply held steady at a reasonably healthy level of 6.3.”

The full Monthly Residential Sales report for April 2020 is available here.

April's results tie in with the most recent National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), showing an increase in builder confidence for May.