Home/Mortgages/New Home Sales Surprise in September

October 26, 2011 (Chris Moore)

Sales of new single-family homes increased in September after four consecutive months of summer declines according to the latest housing data released by the Census Bureau. Despite the surprise gain in September, new home sales remain 20,000 sales behind last year, which was the worst year on record.

Sales of new homes increased 5.7 percent from August to September at a seasonally adjusted rate of 313,000, up from a revised rate of 296,000 in August. The seasonally adjusted rate in August was revised upward from 295,000.

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.

The sales rate in September was 0.9 percent lower than the estimated sales rate of 316,000 units in September of 2010.

The median sales price of the new homes sold in September was $204,400, which was down from $209,100 in August. The average sales price for a new home in September was $243,900, down from $246,000 in August. Eighty-two percent of the new single-family homes sold in September were under $300,000.

Prices are also below last years levels with the median home price in September of last year being $228,000 and the average sales price being $270,800.

Last year was the worst year on record for new single-family home sales with only 323,000 homes sold. At the end of September last year, 256,000 new single-family homes had been sold. Through the end of September this year, 236,000 new homes have been sold, a decline of 7.9 percent.

Year-to-date, sales are 29.7 percent lower in the Northeast, 9.7 percent lower in the Midwest, 4.1 percent lower in the South, and in the West, sales are 6.1 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 South and West posting gains of 11.2 and 9.7 percent, respectively, and the Northeast and the Midwest posted declines of 4.2 and 12.2 percent, respectively.

Compared to a year ago, only the South region posted a gain in seasonally adjusted sales, with an increase of 9.8 percent, while the West remained unchanged. The Northeast and the Midwest posted declines of 34.3 and 14.0 percent, respectively, in annual new home sales.

Inventory of new single-family homes remained relatively balanced by historic standards with a seasonally adjusted 163,000 homes available for sale, which translates into a 6.2 months supply of inventory.

Tags: Census Bureau, new home sales, single-family homes, median sales price, average sales price

Census Bureau