According to the Census Bureau, new home sales improved in March at the fastest single-month rate in 47 years. New-home sales rose 26.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 411,000 last month, compared to an upwardly revised annual rate of 324,000 in February.
The March sales were the strongest since last July, and the percentage gain was the biggest on a month-over-month basis since a 31% gain in March 1963.
New-home sales spiked in every region of the United States. The South saw the biggest jump in new home sales, up 43.5%, while the Northeast region saw sales climb 35.7%. The West and Midwest regions both saw single-digit percentage growth, with the West up 6% and the Midwest up 4%.
The Census Bureau data followed a report from the National Association of Realtors on Thursday that showed existing home sales soared nearly 7% in March, as new homebuyers raced to buy up properties before a tax credit expires on April 30.
The Census Bureau estimated that 228,000 new homes hit the market in March. At the current sales rate, it would take 6.7 months to sell through that inventory, down sharply from an estimated 9.2 months of inventory in February.
While things are not great, a firming housing market and improving jobs market (experts are predicting unemployment for April to be a still high 9.6% compared to 9.7% for March) shows we are heading in the right direction.