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New home sales in March continue upward trend: NAHB

April 26, 2017 - Sales of newly built, single-family homes rose for the third straight month, increasing 5.8 per cent in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 621,000 units, according to newly released data by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau.

"This month's increase in new home sales is aligned with solid builder confidence and shows that the spring home buying season is off to a strong start," said Granger MacDonald, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Kerrville, Texas. "However, builders are concerned that ongoing increases in building material costs will hurt housing affordability, especially given today's proposal by the Department of Commerce to impose a hefty tariff on Canadian lumber."

"The March sales numbers are the second highest on record since the Great Recession, which is especially encouraging considering the poor weather conditions throughout many parts of the country," said NAHB chief economist Robert Dietz. "With tight existing home inventory, rising household formations and continued job creation, we can expect further growth in new home sales moving forward."

The inventory of new homes for sale was 268,000 in March, which is a 5.2-month supply at the current sales pace. The median sales price of new houses sold was $315,100.

Regionally, new home sales increased 25.8 percent in the Northeast, 16.7 per cent in the West and 1.6 percent in the South. Sales fell 4.5 per cent in the Midwest.