New U.S. home sales decline in May
Sales of newly built, single-family homes fell 7.8 per cent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 626,000 units in May, according to newly released data by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau. On a year-to-date basis however, new home sales for 2019 are 4 per cent higher than the same period in 2018.
“The report shows growth in sales in the $200,000-300,000 price range, which indicates middle-class demand for housing is being supported by low rates and solid employment,” said Greg Ugalde, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Torrington, Conn.
“The May numbers are a bit surprising given lower mortgage interest rates and solid builder confidence data,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “Based on these conditions, we expect June new home sales figures will show a rebound.”
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 May reading of 626,000 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 333,000 in May, representing a 6.4 months’ supply. The median sales price was $308,200. The median price of a new home sale a year earlier was $316,700.
Regionally, and on a year to date basis, new home sales are 7.5 per cent higher in the South and 3.4 per cent higher in the West. Sales are down 13.3 per cent in the Northeast and 3.2 per cent in the Midwest.