New-home sales down 14.5 percent in March

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The pace of new single-family home sales plummeted 14.5 percent in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 384,000, which is the slowest pace since July 2013 and disappointing for those who were hoping for some payback after a winter slowdown.

The median forecast of economists surveyed by MNI was for the pace of new-home sales to rise to an annual rate of 452,000, which would have been an increase from the previously reported rate of 440,000 in February — which is now reported at 449,000.

Sales in the Northeast rose 12.5 percent, but they fell 21.5 percent in the Midwest, dipped 14.4 percent in the South and decreased 16.7 percent in the West, which seems to rule out weather as a driver of lower sales in March.

Affordability problems could be taking a bite out of sales, as the median new-home price soared to $290,000, the highest on record, and the average home price rose to $334,200, which is the highest since last November, according to the MNI story that was also published on The Street.com.

Interest rates are also about 100 basis points higher than a year ago.

The slower pace of sales, combined with a 3.2 percent increase in the number of homes available for sale, caused the month’s supply to rise one full month, to a six-month supply.

The new-homes supply is now 193,000, which is the highest since November 2010, when it was 195,000.

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