March New Home Sales Reported 8.6% Lower on Record Prices

RJS, MarketWatch 666

Summary: New Home Sales Reported 8.6% Lower on Record Prices in March, after Prior Months Sales Revised Much Higher

The Census report on New Residential Sales for March (pdf) estimated that new single family homes were selling at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 763,000 homes during the month, which was 8.6 percent (±12.9 percent)* below the revised February annual sales rate of 835,000, and 12.6 percent (±11.3 percent) below the estimated annual rate that new homes were selling at during March of last year . . . the asterisk indicates that based on their small sampling, Census could not tell whether March new home sales rose or fell from home sales of February, with the figures in parenthesis representing the 90% confidence range for the data in this report, which has the largest margin of error and is subject to the largest revisions of any census construction series . . . with this report, sales of new single family homes in February were revised from the annual rate of 772,000 reported last month to an annual rate of 835,000, and new home sales in January, initially reported at an annual rate of 800,000 and revised to a 788,000 annual rate last month, were revised up to a 845,000 a year rate with this report, while December’s annualized new home sales rate, initially reported at an annual rate of 811,000 and revised from the initial revision of 839,000 to an 860,000 a year rate last month, were revised to an 871,000 rate with this release . . . March 2021 sales were originally reported at a 1,021,000 annual rate, a 15 year high, and have since been revised down to an 873,000 annual rate…

The annual rates of sales reported here are seasonally adjusted after extrapolation from the estimates of canvassing Census field reps, which indicated that approximately 72,000 new single family homes sold in March, down from the estimated 73,000 new homes that sold in February but up from the 69,000 that sold in January . . . the raw numbers from Census field agents were further used to estimate that the median sales price of new houses sold in March was $436,700, up from the median sale price of $421,600 in February and up from the median sales price of $359,600 in March a year ago, while the average new home sales price was $523,900, up from the $508,100 average sales price in February, and up from the average sales price of $414,700 in March a year ago . . . a seasonally adjusted estimate of 407,000 new single family houses remained for sale at the end of March, which represents a 6.4 month supply at the March sales rate, up from the revised 5.6 months of new home supply in February, which was originally reported at 6.3 months . . . for graphs and additional commentary on this report, see the following blog posts by Bill McBride at Calculated Risk: New Home Sales Decrease to 763,000 Annual Rate in March. and March New Home Sales: Little Completed Inventory, High Number of Homes Under Construction, which in turn links to his lengthy real estate newsletter post on the same subject