New home sales and prices increase in April; still down over 23 percent from a year ago

Today, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and U.S. Census Bureau released new home sales data for April 2011 showing an increase of 7.3 percent from the month before, and a decrease of 23.1 percent from a year ago.

The seasonally-adjusted new home sales rate for April was 323,000 homes. The supply of new homes on the market decreased from an adjusted 7.2 month supply the month before to a 6.5 month supply in April. The median new home price increased for the month to $217,900, a 1.6 percent increase from a revised median price of $214,500 the month before and an increase of 4.6 percent from a year ago.

My Mantra

As has been my long-running mantra, I don’t like “seasonally adjusted” numbers and “rate” of sales. Why, for one I can’t figure out how in the world they compute the numbers. Second, I just don’t think discussing the “rate” of new home sales paints a realistic picture of the market.

Here is the raw data, the ACTUAL new homes sold- no fluff, no “adjusting” For April, 2011:

  • 32,000 new homes sold, an increase of 14.2 percent from 28,000 new homes sold in the previous month, and a 21.9 percent decrease from a year ago when there were 41,000 new homes sold.
    • As usual, the South had the majority of the new home sales with 16,000 this month (50.0 percent of the total in US)
    • the west region had 8,000 new homes sold.
    • the Midwest had 4,000 new homes sold.
    • The Northeast had 3,000 new homes sold.
  • YTD there have been 103,000 new homes sold, an 18.9 percent decrease from this time last year.
  • New Homes in the US in sold during the month been for sale for a median time of 8.8 months since the homes were completed, down slightly from 8.7 months the month before.

My prediction for 2011…

I’m trying to see my glass as half full, but it’s beginning to spring a leak….I thought, and hoped, that we would see stronger new home sales activity, but it has been pretty sluggish. Nonetheless, I’m going to put on my rose-tinted glassed and leave my new home sales forecast the same for this year at ….331,000 – 361,000 new homes sold in 2011.

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