New-home sales flat in October as median price hits new high

by John Yellig

New-home sales were roughly flat on a monthly basis in October, rising 0.4% to a seasonally adjusted, annual rate of 745,000, while the median sales price hit a new high of $407,700, the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reported.

On a year-over-year basis, the 745,000 pace of new-residential sales clocked in October was down 23.8%. September’s original pace of new-home sales was revised down from 800,000.

The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of September was 389,000, representing a supply of 6.3 months at the current sales rate, according to a press release.

The share of completed homes/ready-to-occupy inventory in October was 9.8%, down from 15.1% a year ago, while the share of new-home inventory that was not started increased to 28% from 21%, First American Deputy Chief Economist Odeta Kushi noted.

“While inventory increased in October, what’s behind the rising share of homes that have not started construction? Builders face supply-side challenges, including building material supply-chain bottlenecks and difficulty in finding skilled labor that make it hard to start building,” Kushi said

By region, the number of new homes sold in the Northeast plunged 11.8% month over month, while home sales jumped 11% in the Midwest and were up 2% in the South and down 1.1% in the West.

“The lack of resale homes on the market has continued to bolster demand for new homes, and builders are working to overcome supply-chain issues to meet delivery dates,” RCLCO Real Estate Consulting principal Kelly Mangold said. “RCLCO expects home sales to remain strong to close out the year, making for an unusually busy for-sale market this holiday season.”

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