NEW HOME SALES CONTINUE TO DECLINE
Sales of new homes in the U.S. declined in March for the third straight month this year.
A Commerce Department report showed that total sales decreased by 1.5% to a 511,000 annualized pace. In western states the demand for new homes declined by 23.6% but was up by 18.5% in the Midwest.
There were more than 246,000 new houses on the market at the end of March, which is the most since September 2009. The median price of new homes fell by 1.8% to $288,000.
New home sales comprise only 10% of the total housing market but are an important economic indicator.
The market for previously owned homes rose 5.1% in March to a 5.33 million annualized rate, according to the National Association of Realtors.
The median existing-home price for all housing types in March was $222,700, up 5.7% from the March 2015 level of $210,700. March’s price increase marks the 49th consecutive month of yearover-year gains.
Home sales continue to benefit from low interest rates. Rates in March rose slightly from 3.66% to 3.69%, according to Freddie Mac.