Sales of newly-built homes surprised Wall Street, jumping 7 percent to an seasonally-adjusted, annualized 323,000 units last month.
In addition, the supply of new homes dropped to 6.5 months — a 2-month decrease from October 2010 and the best reading in a year.
The report runs counter to recent reports from the National Association of Homebuilders and the National Association of REALTORS® which suggest a looming housing slowdown. April’s New Home Sales report runs counter to that theory; it shows ongoing, steady, staggered improvement in terms of sales volume and sales inventory.
Broken-down by sales prices, the New Home Sales report also showed that homes are selling across all price tiers. The “luxury market” improved most:
- Up to $199,999 : +1,000 homes from March
- $200,000 to $399,999 : +2,000 homes from March
- $400,000 and over : +3,000 homes from March
These figures suggest that that move-up buyers — not first-timers — are driving the new home market. Homes under $200,000 now account for just 40% new home sales, down from 46% a year ago.
However, as with most months, it’s important that we recognize the New Home Sales data’s margin of error. Although New Home Sales showed a 7% improvement in April, the reported margin of error was ±17%. This means that the actual reading could have been as high as 24 percent, or as low as -10 percent.
It’s a huge range, and because it encompasses both positive and negative values, the Census Bureau assigned its April reading “zero confidence”. It’s right there in the footnotes.