Steel Markets

New Home Sales Retreat in April

Written by Sandy Williams

Sales of new single-family homes in April fell 11.4 percent from March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 569,000, according to the Commerce Department. Sales were up 0.5 percent from the same month in 2016. The steep slide was unexpected following the ten year high of revised March sales of 642,000.

Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, called April sales “a correction from the March cycle high, not a warning sign.”

“We expect sales to rebound somewhat in May, and to return to the March high, at least, over the next few months,” Shepherdson said, as quoted by the Los Angeles Times.

An estimated 268,000 new homes were for sale at the end of April representing a supply of 5.7 months at the current sales pace.

Median price was $309,200 in April and average sales price was $368,300.

Sequential monthly sales were down across the board regionally with the largest declines in the Midwest (-13.1 percent) and West (-26.3 percent). Compared to April 2016, sales were up 19.7 percent in the Midwest and 4.1 percent in the South. Year-over-year sales were down 5.1 percent in the Northeast and 13.7 percent in the West.

“Despite some slowness this month, total new home sales in 2017 are up more than 11 percent from this time last year and builders are optimistic about future market conditions,” said Granger MacDonald, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). “We should see further gains in the months ahead as more prospective home buyers enter the market.”

“New home sales were strong in the first three months of 2017, so some pullback in April is to be expected,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “However, our forecast calls for new home sales to increase throughout the year, buoyed by rising household formations, continued job growth and tight existing home inventory.”

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