New-Home Sales Are High, But They Could Be Higher

July 27, 2017

New-home sales inched up 0.8 percent in June, but sales would be higher if there were more new homes to sell. Sales of newly built single-family homes reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 610,000 units in June, according to a joint report released by the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“While new home inventory rose slightly in June, it remains tight as builders face lot and labor shortages and increases in building material costs,” says Michael Neal, senior economist at the National Association of Home Builders.

The lower price ranges are seeing some of the tightest inventory supply. Only about 2,000 new homes under $150,000 were sold in June, according to the report. About 6,000 homes were sold in the $150,000 to $199,999 price range. There was an uptick in the $200,000 to $299,000 price range at about 19,000 new homes sold in June, which is up from 15,000 a year ago.

The greatest number of new homes were sold in the South in June.

But the most sales on the rise last month were in the West. New-home sales rose in June by 12.5 percent month over month in the West and by 10 percent in the Midwest. Sales were unchanged in the Northeast in June, and dropped by 6.1 percent in the South, according to the Census and HUD report.  

New homes remain significantly pricier than existing homes. New home buyers likely will pay about 17.8 percent more than if they purchased a previously lived-in home.

This rings true even though new-home prices did slow down last month. The median price of a newly built home dropped nearly 4.2 percent in June month over month to $310,800. Prices are down nearly 3.4 percent from a year ago. Meanwhile, the median existing home price reached a record in June at $263,800.

Despite June’s modest new-home sales gain, sales overall remain up nearly 11 percent since the beginning of 2017, according to the NAHB.

Source: National Association of Home Builders and “New-Home Prices Are Down: Get One Before They Sell Out,”® (July 26, 2017)