WASHINGTON — Sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 3.3% in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 526,000 units, the U.S. Commerce Dept. reported. However, this gain reflected downward revisions to sales numbers reported for each of the previous three months, including a particularly large revision for March.
“The fact that new-home sales are up slightly from a dismal beginning to the spring home buying season in March isn’t much to celebrate,” said Sandy Dunn, president of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a homebuilder from Point Pleasant, WV. “We still need a great deal of help from the Administration and Capitol Hill to halt the downward trends in home sales and house prices that are producing such a drag on our nation's economy and disrupting financial markets.”
April's preliminary sales pace of 526,000 units was equivalent to the previously reported sales pace for March. However, the Commerce Dept. this month revised March's reading substantially downward to 509,000 units — 11% below the revised February reading.
Sales rose in three out of four regions in April. The Northeast posted a 41.7% gain that erased an equivalent decline in the previous month, while the Midwest and West recorded gains of 5.8% and 8.3%, respectively. The South, which is the nation’s largest housing market, posted a 2.4 % decline.
The inventory of new homes for sale declined 2.4% in April to 456,000 units, which is a 10.6-month supply at the current sales pace. Completed homes accounted for 40% of total new homes for sale, up from 33% a year earlier, and the median number of months for sale since completion rose to 8.0 — the highest since mid-1991.
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