New home sales declined in September for
the first time since April. The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of
Housing and Urban Development said sales of newly constructed homes were sold
at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 959,000 units, a 3.4 percent decline
from the prior month. Further, the 1,011,000 sales reported in August were revised
down to 994,000. Nonetheless, sales are still up 32.1 percent from one year
Sales were below all the predictions from
the Econoday panel of analysts. Those ranged from 1.0 million to
1.05 million. Their consensus was 1.016
million units. Econoday said its consensus forecast had fallen short of
actual sales in each of the previous five months.
On a non-adjusted basis there were 75,000
new homes sold during the month compared to 82,000 in August and 56,000 in
September 2019. Slightly less than one-third of the homes sold (24,000) were
ready for occupancy while the remainder were almost equally divided between
homes under construction and homes for which construction had not been
For the year-to-date 618,000 homes have
sold. This represents a 16.9 percent increase over the 529,000 homes sold in
the first nine months of last year.
The median price of a home sold during the
month was $326,800 and the average price was $405,400. The respective sales prices
in September of last year were $315,700 and $372,100.
At the end of the reporting period there
were an estimated 284,000 new homes available for sale, a 3.6-month supply at
the current sales pace. A year earlier the 321,000 available homes were
projected to be a 5.3-month supply.
Sales of newly constructed homes declined
by 28.9 percent in the Northeast compared to August and were 5.9 percent lower
on an annual basis. In the Midwest sales were down 4.1 percent for the month
but rose 34.8 percent year-over-year. There was a 4.7 percent decline in the
South although the annual increase was 27.4 percent. The West posted the only
monthly gain, 3.8 percent, and sales were 49.7 percent higher than in the prior