Americans aren’t buying as many new single-family homes

by Steve Randall15 Mar 2019

Sales of new single-family houses in the United States slipped 6.9% month-over-month in January with a year-over-year drop of 4.1%, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 607,000.

The HUD and US Commerce Dept. reported that the median sales price of new houses sold in January 2019 was $317,200 while the average sales price was $373,100.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) says that there is an increasing demand for new single-family homes within an affordable price range as 66% were priced between $200,000 and $400,000 (up from 51% a year earlier) compared to 22% in the $400,000 to $750,000 range.

Regionally, month-over-month new home sales fell 11.4% in the Northeast, 28.6% in the Midwest and 15.1% in the South. Sales rose 27.8% in the West.

“Declines in mortgage rates brought buyers back into the market at the end of 2018 and moving into the new year,” said NAHB Chairman Greg Ugalde. “After a challenging period last fall, builders expect a solid spring home buying season.”

Nationally, new home sales posted a 2.3% gain for 2018 and the yearly total of 627,000 is the highest sales level since the Great Recession.

Supply increased
The inventory of new homes for sale rose to 336,000 in January, which represents a slightly elevated 6.6-month supply at the current sales rate.

“These numbers indicate that builders who can produce housing at affordable price points in markets across the nation will be able to meet this sales demand that is generated by healthy household formations and solid job and wage growth,” said Robert Dietz, NAHB chief economist.

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