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New Home Sales  
Released On 4/24/2012 10:00:00 AM For Mar, 2012
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
New Home Sales - Level - SAAR313 K318 K305 K to 335 K328 K

Highlights
New home sales came in at a 328,000 unit annual rate in March, slightly less than expected but more than offset by large upward revisions to prior months: February revised 40,000 higher to 353,000 and January revised 11,000 higher to 329,000. These upward revisions better align this report with the stand-out strength in the housing market report from the nation's home builders.

Supply of new homes on the market is manageable, at 5.3 months from February's 5.0. Price data are mixed and hard to read with the median down on the month but the average up sharply. Year-on-year rates are both solidly positive.

The regional sales breakdown for March, though showing big declines in the West and Midwest, does show a strong gain for the Northeast and, importantly, a solid gain for the South which is by the largest region.

Still, the month-to-month total change in March is a disappointment that doesn't point to building momentum for the new home sector. The housing sector is limping along with this report unlikely to build up much confidence for a spring surge.

Consensus Outlook
New home sales fell 1.6 percent in February to a 313,000 annual rate, following a 5.4 percent drop in January and a 4.3 percent boost in December. The biggest strength in the February report was in prices which surged 8.3 percent for the median to $233,700 for the highest since June with the year-on-year rate, at plus 6.2 percent, showing its first positive reading since October. But, as with the existing home sales measure, prices are affected by relative strength in the high end versus the low end.

Definition
New home sales measure the number of newly constructed homes with a committed sale during the month. The level of new home sales indicates housing market trends and, in turn, economic momentum and consumer purchases of furniture and appliances.  Why Investors Care
 
[Chart]
There is no question that lower interest rates boost home sales. Other factors also impact housing decisions, such as employment and income growth, and wealth stemming from stock market gains.
Data Source: Haver Analytics
 
 

2012 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/262/243/234/245/236/257/258/239/2610/2411/2812/27
Release For: DecJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNov
 


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