Sales of new single-family houses in September 2015 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 468,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 11.5 percent below the revised August rate of 529,000, but is 2.0 percent above the September 2014 estimate of 459,000.


The drop in sales together with a rise in homes on the market made for a big surge in supply, to 5.8 months from 4.9 months in August and 5.5 months from September last year. This turns around what had been a market of very thin supply to one of nearly adequate supply, with 6.0 months considered the balancing point between supply and demand. Homes on the market rose 4.2 percent in the month to 225,000 units.

One likely factor holding down sales is a rise in prices where the median rose 2.7 percent in the month to $296,900 which is 13.5 percent higher than a year ago. The year-ago reading last month was only up 0.3 percent in an example of how the extreme results of the September report have turned the data upside down. Price appreciation is now way out in front of year-on-year sales growth.

Regionally, sales plunged 62 percent in the Northeast where however the new home market is extremely small. But there are minus signs across the other regions too including the South, down 8.7 percent, and the West, down 6.7 percent.