New-home sales move up significantly in March

According to the two government organizations, last month saw a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 417,000 new residential sales, which was 18.5 percent more than the 352,000 transactions recorded during March 2012.

Although a small decline in existing-home sales was recorded during last month, newly-constructed single-family home sales exhibited considerable improvement on both a month-over-month and year-over-year basis in March. 

The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development recently released a joint report in which the latest uptick in new-home sales, as well as current inventory levels and price levels were detailed. According to the two organizations, last month saw a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 417,000 new residential sales, which was 1.5 percent above the 411,000 sales logged in February and 18.5 percent more than the 352,000 new-home transactions recorded during March 2012. 

Rick Judson, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders commented on the positive development, saying the recent increasing trends may again be witnessed if mortgage records remain at affordable rate levels. 

"This is the second-best sales number we've seen since early 2010, and a good sign of the continued, gradual headway that our industry is making toward recovery as more buyers jump off the fence in time to take advantage of today's low interest rates and prices," Judson said.

Sale figures range in size across America
Regionally, the amount of new-home sales exhibited was mixed, as different areas of America saw varied public property records. The South and Northeast were reportedly the only regions to record gains, as declines were seen in the West and Midwest states. New residential sale numbers improved by 19.4 percent in the South, as 35,000 more transactions were seen in March than February. The Northeast recorded an improvement of 20.6 percent, logging an increase of 7,000 sales month-over-month. Alternatively, last month the West saw new-home transactions decrease 20.9 percent, as 29,000 fewer sales were finalized, and figures for the Midwestern region fell 12.1 percent due to a 7,000-unit drop in new single-family houses sold. 

Within the same report, the two organizations announced the median sale price of all new-homes with were bought in March was tallied at $247,000, and the average sales price was seen at $279,900. Both figures actually declined on a monthly basis. During February the median sale price was noted at $264,900 and the average price was seen at $310,000.

In addition, the seasonally adjusted estimate of available new homes at the end of March was reportedly 153,000, which averages an inventory supply of 4.4 months at the current sales rate. Because a six-month supply generally represents a healthy housing market, home builders and property developers may look to increase their efforts in the following months.

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