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March Homes Sales Up Four Percent

Phil Hall
Apr 24, 2018
Sales of new single-family houses in April 2018 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 662,000

Sales of new single-family houses in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 694,000, which is four percent above the revised February rate of 667,000 and is 8.8 percent above the March 2017 estimate of 638,000, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
 
The median sales price of new houses sold in March was $337,200 and the average sales price was $369,900. The seasonally-adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of March was 301,000, which represents a supply of 5.2 months at the current sales rate.
 
Initial reaction to the report was optimistic, albeit with a tinge of caution.
 
“Rising prices are a mixed bag for the housing market,” said Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at Realtor.com. “While homeowners benefit from extra equity, potential buyers can get discouraged as the dream of homeownership becomes more elusive. On Thursday, we’ll see data on the homeownership rate for the first quarter of 2018 and get an indication of whether or not home buyers have been able to succeed in spite of rising prices and mortgage rates.”
 
Aaron Terrazas, Economic Research Director at Zillow, wondered aloud if home builders can meet the needs of a new wave of prospective homebuyers.
 
“Rising materials and labor costs are weighing heavily, forcing builders to deliver homes at a price point that may be beyond the reach of many first-time and middle-income buyers,” Terrazas said. “Builders are proving they can build a certain kind of home, but whether enough buyers can afford to come forward for them in meaningful numbers is an open question.”

 
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