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Financial News: U.S. New Home Sales Unexpectedly Jump To 16-Month

U.S. New Home Sales Unexpectedly Jump To 16-Month High In March

04/23/2019 - 10:18:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - New home sales in the U.S. unexpectedly jumped to their highest level in well over a year in the month of March, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Tuesday.

The Commerce Department said new home sales surged up by 4.5 percent to an annual rate of 692,000 in March after soaring by 5.9 percent to a revised rate of 662,000 in February.

The continued increase surprised economists, who had expected new home sales to drop by 2.5 percent to a rate of 650,000 from the 667,000 originally reported for the previous month.

With the unexpected spike, new home sales reached their highest annual rate since hitting 712,000 in November of 2017.

The report also showed new home sales in March were up by 3.0 percent compared to the same month a year ago, reflecting a notable turnaround from the revised 0.2 percent annual drop in February.

The unexpected monthly increase in new home sales was partly due to strength in the Midwest, where new home sales skyrocketed by 17.6 percent to a rate of 87,000.

New home sales in the West and South also jumped by 6.7 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively, while new home sales in the Northeast plunged by 22.2 percent.

Meanwhile, the Commerce Department said the median sales price of new houses sold in March was $302,700, down by 4 percent from $315,200 in February and down by 9.7 percent from $335,400 a year ago.

The estimate of new houses for sale at the end of March also edged down to 344,000, representing 6.0 months of supply at the current sales rate.

On Monday, the National Association of Realtors released a separate report showing a significant pullback in existing home sales in the month of March.

NAR said existing home sales plunged by 4.9 percent to an annual rate of 5.21 million in March after soaring by 11.2 percent to a revised rate of 5.48 million in February.

Economists had expected existing home sales to tumble by 3.8 percent to a rate of 5.30 million from the 5.51 million originally reported for the previous month.

The bigger than expected pullback came after existing home sales reached their highest level in almost a year in February.

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