Photographer: Ty Wright/Bloomberg

U.S. New-Home Sales Unexpectedly Jump to Highest Since 2007

Updated on

U.S. purchases of new homes unexpectedly surged in September to the highest level in a decade as activity accelerated in the South after hurricanes Harvey and Irma, according to government data Wednesday.

Highlights of New-Home Sales (September)

  • Single-family home sales rose 18.9% m/m to 667k annualized pace (est. 554k), the strongest since October 2007
  • Purchases in U.S. South surged 25.8% m/m to 405k rate, fastest since July 2007; sales in other regions also advanced
  • Median sales price increased 1.6% y/y to $319,700
  • Supply of homes at current sales rate dropped to 5 months from 6 months; 279,000 new houses were on market at end of September

Key Takeaways

The biggest monthly gain in home sales since January 1992 reflected an increase in the number of properties in which construction hadn’t yet started. That level of 236,000 was the most since January 2007 and signals residential building will strengthen in coming months as firms get busy filling orders.

While the report showed particular strength in the U.S. South, possibly a reflection of increased demand following the storms, sales were firm in other parts of the country. A steady job market and low mortgage costs will help keep the housing recovery on track.

New-home sales, tabulated when contracts get signed, account for about 10 percent of the market. They’re considered a timelier barometer than purchases of previously owned homes, which are calculated when contracts close and are reported by the National Association of Realtors. The figures are volatile on a month-to-month basis.

Other Details

  • Purchases in the Midwest climbed 10.6 percent in September and were up 2.9 percent in the West.
  • Commerce Department said there was 90 percent confidence that the change in sales last month ranged from a 0.1 percent drop to a 37.9 percent increase, underscoring the volatility of the data
  • Report released jointly by the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington

— With assistance by Jordan Yadoo

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