"The Commerce Department
said Friday that sales of new homes rose 6.4 percent last month to a
seasonally adjusted annual rate of 433,000. That compares with an
upwardly revised annual pace of 407,000 in March, when purchases fell
6.9 percent":. Buying had dropped 4.4 percent in February, in part because
of winter snowstorms.
Demand for newly built homes remains one
of the missing pieces of the nearly 5-year-old recovery from the Great
Recession. A lack of affordability has limited buying around the
country. Sales of new homes are running at roughly half the rate of a
healthy real estate market. Warmer weather has yet to heat up the
housing market after a harsh winter slowed sales in January and
February. Higher prices and mortgage rates over the past year have
sidelined many would-be buyers. Sales during April surged in the Midwest and edged up in the South. Home-buying was flat in the West and fell in the Northeast. Yelena
Shulyatyeva, an economist at BNP Paribas, noted that the 47.4 percent
increase in Midwest sales likely came from the start of the spring
buying season and that similar levels of growth are “not likely to
continue.” “The broader trend remains one of weak underlying demand,” Shulyatyeva said in a client note. New-home sales have declined 4.2 percent over the past 12 months. The median sales price, which can be volatile, fell a slight 2.1 percent during the past month to $275,800. Buying
has been slow across much of the country after climbing in the first
half of 2013. Last year’s gains and a limited supply of homes pushed up
prices to levels that strained household budgets for potential buyers. Sales
of existing homes in April rose 1.3 percent from March to a seasonally
adjusted annual rate of 4.65 million, the National Association of
Realtors said Thursday. Purchases of homes over the past 12 months have
dropped 6.8 percent. In a healthy housing market, roughly 5.5 million
existing homes are purchased each year. The median price for an existing home has risen 5.2 percent to $201,700. Home
sales growth over the past year has occurred primarily among homes
worth more than $750,000. Buying fell during the same period for homes
worth less than $250,000, which make up the majority of all purchases. Much
of the increase in construction has been in the apartment sector, a
sign that builders expect fewer buyers and more renters. After the
housing bust and Great Recession, Americans have been coping with flat
wages and job insecurity, making it hard to save for a down payment. The
home ownership rate was 64.8 percent at the start of the year, down
from a peak of 69.2 percent during 2004. New homes usually
represent about 20 percent of all homes sold. That figure has fallen
recently to 10 percent, according to real estate data firm Zillow. An
index of builder confidence for this month fell a percentage point to
45, the National Association of Homebuilders and Wells Fargo reported
Thursday. A reading below 50 indicates that builders consider the
conditions for new construction to be poor. The index had been above 50
from June through January.
Author:Zachary Dickmeyer Phone: 702-524-8186 Dated: May 30th 2014 Views: 1,270 About Zachary: ...
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