Sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 2.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 454,000 units in April, according to newly released figures from HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau. The gain builds on a strong upward revision to sales numbers reported for the previous month. "Builders are reporting an active spring buying season as consumers become more confident about going forward with a new-home purchase along with steadily firming prices in local markets," said Rick Judson, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. "While the cost of constructing homes is rising due to tightened supplies of materials, lots and labor, to some extent, this may be creating greater urgency among potential buyers."
"Today's report is further evidence of the gradual, consistent improvement we have been seeing in housing market conditions over the past year," noted NAHB Senior Economist Robert Denk. "We're now about half-way back to what could be considered a full recovery, and we do expect to see continual, solid gains in both starts and sales of new homes going forward."
On a regional basis, new-home sales rose 3.0 percent in the South and 10.8 percent in the West, but fell 4.8 percent in the Midwest and 16.7 percent in the Northeast in April.
The inventory of new homes for sale edged up to a still-thin 156,000 units in April. This is a 4.1-month supply at the current sales pace.
“It’s official: housing is back on solid footing," said Quicken Loans Chief Economist Bob Walters. "The sales of newly constructed homes continued their upward trend in April, rising 2.3 percent over the March numbers. Today’s new home sales number bookends yesterday’s strong existing home sales report and provides ample evidence that Americans are becoming bullish on housing.”