January 5, 2012 (Chris Moore)

Sales of new single-family homes continued to gain momentum for the third consecutive month in November and were almost ten percent higher than a year ago according to the latest housing data released by the Census Bureau.

Monthly sales of new homes increased 1.6 percent in November to a seasonally adjusted rate of 315,000, up from a revised rate of 310,000 in October. The seasonally adjusted rate in October was revised upward from 307,000.

Sales of new single-family homes had fallen to an all-time low average of 281,000 homes per year in February and were followed by gains in March and April. Sales then declined throughout the summer months but have been on the rise since September.

The rate of sales in November was 9.8 percent higher than the estimated sales rate of 287,000 units in November of 2010.

The median sales price of the new homes sold in November was $214,100, which was down from a revised $222,600 in October. The average sales price for a new home in November was $242,300, down from a revised $253,200 in October.

Seventy-seven percent of the new single-family homes sold in November were under $300,000, down from 78 percent in October.

In November of last year, the median sales price of a new home was slightly higher at $219,600, while the average sales price was $281,700.

Despite the momentum of the last three months, new single-family home sales appear destined to break last year’s mark of being the worst year for sales on record.

Since the beginning of the year in 2011 through the end of November, builders have sold approximately 282,000 new homes. During the same time period in 2010, builders had sold approximately 300,000 new homes, a difference of 18,000 homes, too large of an amount to overcome in the current housing market.

Year-to-date, seasonally adjusted sales were 32.3 percent lower in the Northeast, 1.7 percent lower in the Midwest, 4.4 percent lower in the South, and in the West, sales were 1.4 percent lower than they were at the beginning of the 2011.

Two of the four regions posted increases in seasonally adjusted monthly sales with the Midwest and the South posting gains of 12.9 and 7.5 percent, respectively. The Northeast and the West posted declines of 26.3 and 16.9 percent, respectively.

Compared to a year ago, all the regions but the Northeast posted gains. New home sales in the Northeast were 30.0 percent lower than they were last year while the Midwest, the South and the West posted gains of 62.9, 6.7, and 1.5 percent from a year ago, respectively.

Inventory of new single-family homes remained relatively balanced by historic standards with a seasonally adjusted 158,000 homes available for sale, which translates into a 6.0 months supply of inventory.

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

Census Bureau