New home sales drop 8.9 per cent in October

National Association of Home Builders
November 29, 2018
By National Association of Home Builders
Nov. 28, 2018 – Sales of newly built, single-family homes fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 544,000 units in Oct. after an upwardly revised Sept. report, according to newly released data by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau. This is the lowest sales pace since Dec. 2016. However, on a year-to-date basis, sales are up 2.8 percent from this time in 2017.

“The November reading is consistent with reports from our builders, who say that the job market and demographic tailwinds bode well for housing demand but rising interest rates and home prices are forcing customers to take a pause,” said Randy Noel, NAHB chairman and a custom home builder from LaPlace, La. “Policymakers should see this drop in sales as an indicator that housing affordability will continue to slow down the market.”

“Home sales declined this month as housing affordability continues to be a hurdle for consumers,” said NAHB senior economist Danushka Nanayakkara-Skillington. “While a solid economy and positive demographics support future demand for housing, it is critical to address this mounting affordability crisis.”

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 October reading of 544,000 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 rose to 336,000 in October. The median sales price fell 3.6 per cent to $309,700, as the market is shifting to townhomes and other lower-cost houses.

Looking at the regional numbers on a year-to-date basis, new home sales rose 6.3 per cent in the Midwest, 4.1 per cent in the West, and 3.8 per cent in the South. Home sales fell 17.1 per cent in the Northeast year-to-date.

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