September New Home Sales Fire Up

When it comes to new home sales, September is the new spring.

HUD and the Census Bureau reported a sharp jump in new single-family home sales in September. The seasonally adjusted annual rate of 667,000 was nearly 19 percent higher than August’s revised 561,000 and 17 percent higher than a year ago, reaching its highest level since 2007.

Regionally, sales improved across the board, particularly in largest region, the South, where sales jumped by nearly 26 percent to 405,000 units, seasonally annually adjusted, in September from 322,000 in August and improved by 23.1 percent from a year ago. In the West, sales rose by nearly 3 percent to 141,000 units in September from 137,000 units in August and improved by 4.4 percent from a year ago.

In the Northeast, sales jumped by 33.3 percent to 48,000 units in September from 36,000 units in August and improved by nearly 55 percent from a year ago. In the Midwest, sales rose by 10.6 percent to 73,000 units in September from 66,000 units in August but fell by nearly 3 percent from a year ago.

The report said the median sales price of new houses sold in September rose to $319,700 from $303,000. The average sales price rose to $385,200, up from $364,800 in August. Inventory fell sharply in September; the report said the seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of September fell to 279,000, from 284,000 in August, representing a 5.0-month supply at the current sales rate.

“New home sales appear to have gotten back on track in September, although the 18.9 percent spike likely exaggerates the extent of actual improvement,” said Mark Vitner, senior economist with Wells Fargo Securities, Charlotte, N.C. “The new home sales series is notoriously volatile and has bounced around even more than usual due to the relatively low absolute level of sales.”