Sales of new single-family houses in October 2015 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 495,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 10.7 percent above the revised September rate of 447,000 and is 4.9 percent above the October 2014 estimate of 472,000.
Lack of supply is a key issue for the new home sector that is holding down sales, at only 5.5 months relative to sales which is down from 6.0 months in September. But actual new homes on the market are up slightly, at 226,000 which compares to 208,000 a year ago.
Unlike price data in this week’s Case-Shiller and FHFA reports, there is no indication of improved traction in what belies the lack of supply in the market. The median price, at $281,500, is down a very severe looking 8.5 percent in the month with the year-on-year rate at minus 6.0 percent.
The Northeast is showing very solid strength, up more than 100 percent in the month though sales levels in this region make up only a tiny fraction of national sales. The South, by far the largest region for new home sales, showed key strength in the month with an 8.9 percent gain. Year-on-year, the Northeast is out in front with a 60 percent gain followed by the South with a 5.2 percent gain. The West, a key region for home builders, shows a disappointing 2.6 percent year-on-year decline with the Midwest bringing up the rear at minus 4.8 percent.