Sales of new single-family houses in the United States rose 4.5 percent from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 692 thousand in March 2019, the highest level since November 2017, while markets had forecast a 2.5 percent fall to 650 thousand. It was the third straight monthly increase in new home sales, amid lower mortgage rates and house prices.
February's sales pace was revised down to 662 thousand units from the previously reported 667 thousand units.
About 62 percent of the houses sold in March were either under construction or yet to be built.
New home sales, which account for about 11.7 percent of housing market sales, increased in the South (3.6 percent to 401 thousand, the highest level since July 2007), West (6.7 percent to 176 thousand) and Midwest (17.6 percent to 87 thousand), but fell in the Northeast (-22.2 percent to 28 thousand).
The median new house price dropped 9.7 percent to USD 302,700 in March from a year ago, the lowest level since February 2017. The average sales price, however, increased 1.8 percent to USD 376,000.
The stock of new houses for sale went up 0.3 percent to 344 thousand. At March's sales pace it would take 6.0 months to clear the supply of houses on the market, down from 6.3 months in February.
Year-on-year, new home sales rose 3 percent.
4/23/2019 2:19:12 PM