November 28, 2011 (Chris Moore)
Sales of new single-family homes increased for the second consecutive month in October, welcomed news for home builders after suffering through four months of declines during the summer, according to the latest housing data released by the Census Bureau.
Sales of new homes increased 1.3 percent from September to October at a seasonally adjusted rate of 307,000, up from a revised rate of 303,000 in September. The seasonally adjusted rate in September was revised downward from 313,000.
New single-family home sales had fallen to an all-time low sales rate of 279,000 in February and were followed by gains in March and April, but then declined throughout the summer months until finally posting a gain in September.
The sales rate in October was 8.9 percent higher than the estimated sales rate of 282,000 units in October of 2010.
The median sales price of the new homes sold in October was $212,300, which was down from a revised $213,300 in September. The average sales price for a new home in October was $242,300, down from a revised $248,400 in September. Seventy-eight percent of the new single-family homes sold in October were under $300,000, down from 82 percent in September.
In October of last year, the median price was lower at $204,200 and the average sales price was higher at $254,400.
Last year was the worst year on record for new single-family home sales with only 323,000 homes sold. At the end of October last year, 279,000 new single-family homes had been sold. Through the end of October this year, 260,000 new homes have been sold, a decline of 6.9 percent.
Year-to-date, sales were 30.0 percent lower in the Northeast, 5.3 percent lower in the Midwest, 5.0 percent lower in the South, and in the West, sales were 2.3 percent lower than they were during the same period last year.
Two of the four regions posted increases in seasonally adjusted monthly sales with the Midwest and West posting gains of 22.2 and 14.9 percent, respectively. The Northeast remained unchanged from the previous month and the South posted a decline of 9.5 percent.
Compared to a year ago, the Midwest and West regions posted gains in seasonally adjusted sales, with an increase of 37.5 percent for the Midwest and 54.0 percent for the West. The Northeast and the South posted declines of 26.7 and 5.6 percent, respectively, in annual new home sales.
Inventory of new single-family homes remained relatively balanced by historic standards with a seasonally adjusted 162,000 homes available for sale, which translates into a 6.3 months supply of inventory.
Tags: Census Bureau, new home sales, single-family homes, median sales price, average sales price