For the third consecutive month, sales of newly built single-family homes edged up, “demonstrating steady growth in the housing market,” says Kevin Kelly, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders. However, housing analysts caution that the sector remains fragile.
New-home sales inched up slightly by 0.2 percent in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 467,000 units—the highest level since June 2008, according to new data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and U.S. Census Bureau. The median price of new homes in September was $259,000, a 4 percent drop year-over-year.
“We expect the housing market recovery to remain relatively gradual over the coming months,” Gennadiy Goldberg, an economist at TD Securities in New York, told Reuters.
In September, the inventory of new homes rose to 207,000—a 5.3-month supply at the current sales pace. Most economists consider 6 months a healthy balance between supply and demand. The slow-growing inventory of new homes points to builders gaining confidence in the market, says NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.
Regionally, new-home sales rose the most in the Midwest, posting a 12.3 percent gain month-over-month, followed by a 2 percent rise in the South. Sales stayed flat in the Northeast and fell 8.9 percent in the West.
The government revised August’s reported new-home sales figures, reflecting the fact that sales actually posted a sharp decline last month, as opposed to what had been originally reported. August’s sales numbers were revised down to 466,000 units from the originally reported 504,000 units.
Source: National Association of Home Builders and “U.S. Home Sales at Six-Year High; Recovery Still Fragile,” Reuters