New home sales reach highest mark in a decade
New home sales hit a 10-year high in October, according to a joint release of HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) and the Census Bureau. Sales growth occurred in all regions, led by the Northwest where they jumped 30 percent from September 2017. Sales rose 6 percent in the West.
Contracts for new, single-family homes for October totaled 685,000, marking the sixth month in 2017 with seasonally adjusted sales of at least 600,000 units. October's transactions were up 18.7 percent from the same month a year ago, and up 6.2 percent from September's total of 645,000.
Year-to-date figures are also outgaining 2016. New home sales through October are running 8.9 percent higher that the same 10-month period last year.
HUD and the Census Bureau also reported a 4.9 months of supply as of the end of October.
Month-over-month median prices fell by nearly $7,000, slipping from $319,700 in September to $312,800 in October. Average home prices jumped from $385,200 in September, rising to $400,200. "Managing rising construction costs in the months ahead will be a key challenge for housing affordability, as input costs increase," noted Robert Dietz, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders.
NAHB's analysis of the latest HUD/Census Bureau report indicates strong sales growth in the $200,000 to $300,000 prices class. Year-over-year comparisons for October show such sales surged 35 percent.
While noting inventory is relatively healthy, Dietz said more new homes are needed to meet anticipated demand.