Steel Markets

New Home Sales Make Surprising Gain in April

Written by Sandy Williams

New home sales rose slightly in April, inching up 0.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 623,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Compared to April 2019, home sales declined 6.2 percent.

Median sales price was $309,900 and the average sales price was $364,500. Inventory was estimated at 325,000 units at the end of April, a supply of 6.3 months at the current sales rate.

Sales increased in all regions except the West, which declined 6.3 percent. New home sales rose 8.7 percent in the Northwest and 2.4 percent in both the Midwest and South.

The rise in sales last month took economists by surprise. A poll by Reuters forecast sales to plummet 21.9 percent in April and Zillow Research expected a 23 percent rout. The April rate follows a 13.7 percent decline in March.

“The coronavirus pandemic has generated any number of nasty surprises over the past few months, but the unexpected strength in April new home sales may be the first pleasant surprise yet — and the clearest indicator so far that housing, so unlike the last time around, will be a source of relative strength during this downturn,” said Zillow Research economist Matthew Speakman.

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