According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau, sales of newly built, single-family homes in the U.S. rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 692,000 units in March 2019. This is the highest sales pace since November 2017.
"These numbers indicate that builders who can produce housing at affordable price points will experience sales growth," said Greg Ugalde, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders. "However, builders are still dealing with a shortage of construction workers and buildable lots, which limits housing affordability."
"We saw a large gain at lower price points where demand is strong. In March of 2019, 50 percent of new home sales were priced below $300,000, compared to 39 percent in March of 2018," said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. "These are the price points that are attractive for renters seeking to become homeowners."
A new home sale occurs when a sales contract is signed or a deposit is accepted. The home can be in any stage of construction: not yet started, under construction or completed. In addition to adjusting for seasonal effects, the March reading of 692,000 units is the number of homes that would sell if this pace continued for the next 12 months.
The inventory of new homes for sale was 344,000 in March, representing a 6 months' supply. The median sales price was $302,700 with strong gains in homes sold at lower price points. The median price of a new home sale a year earlier was $335,400.
Regionally, and on a year to date basis, new home sales fell 17.6 percent in the Northeast, 8.1 percent in Midwest and 5.9 percent in the West. Sales rose 9.6 percent in the South, where 58 percent of new home sales occurred in March
A total of 161,875 U.S. properties with a foreclosure filing during the first quarter of 2019, down 23 percent from the previous quarter and down 15 percent from a year ago to the lowest level since Q1 2008.
According to the latest National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, U.S. builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes held steady at 62 in March 2019.
Zillow is reporting this week that a limited U.S. housing inventory and rapid price appreciation have kept sellers firmly in the driver's seat for several years as the United States recovered from the housing market collapse in 2008.
Sales of new homes in all four major U.S. regions significantly declined in the last two months of 2018. The year-over-year trend was especially drastic in the Northeast, where new-home sales fell by 16.1 percent in December.
Based on a new report by the California Association of Realtors, California home sales remained on a downward trend for the seventh consecutive month in November 2018 as prospective buyers continued to wait out the market.
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