Sales of new homes surged in April, jumping 16.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 619,000 units, the highest level since January 2008. The percent increase was the largest since January 1992, according to the latest data from the Department of Commerce.
Sales were 16.6 percent (±15.4%) above the revised March rate of 531,000 and is 23.8 percent (±22.8%) above the April 2015 estimate of 500,000. Forecasters at the National Association of Home Builders predict that single-family production will see a 14 percent uptick this year to 812,000 units, and then rise another 19 percent to 964,000 units in 2017. Home builders are working at a record pace to fill depleted inventories of homes for sale.
The median price of a new homes sold in April rose 9.7 percent above the median a year ago, from $292,700 to $321,100. New homes prices rose faster than existing homes, whose April median price was only 6.3 percent higher than a year ago. Sales of more expensive homes dominated the growth in sales. Some 56 percent of new homes sold in April were priced above $300,000.
Though the number of homes than sold for less than $300,000 has increased from 21,000 in 2014 to 27,000 in 2016, affordable new homes constitute a smaller percentage of new home sales. Market share of new homes priced below $300.000 has fallen from 57 percent in April 2014 to 44 percent in April 2016, a decline of 22 percent.
In April, the inventory of new homes on the market fell 0.4 percent to 243,000. At April’s sales pace it would take 4.7 months to clear the supply of houses on the market, down from 5.5 months in March.