Across the US, new home sales keep falling

The Northeast was the only region that saw an uptick in sales in April, new government data shows

New home sales slowed in April by 6.9 percent
New home sales slowed in April by 6.9 percent

Sales of new homes nationwide dropped in April by their largest monthly percentage this year, with the results coming amid rising inventory and prices.

Sales for those homes dropped 6.9 percent last month to an annualized pace of 673,000, according to a Wall Street Journal report on the U.S. Commerce Department figures. Sales declined in all regions of the country except the Northeast. Existing home sales nationwide, which make up the bulk of transactions, also dropped in April.

Despite that, sales rose 7 percent from April 2018, according to the report, but are still well under pre-recession figures, the Journal reported. And the median sales price for a new home last month was $342,000 — a nearly $30,000 increase from a year prior.

Supply was also up, to 5.9 months from 5.7 months in April 2018.

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A slow April followed a strong March for new homes, when sales hit a 16-month high of 692,000 annualized, a 4.5 percent jump over February.

Part of that can be pinned on a drop in mortgage rates following months of steady increases.

Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, told the Journal that the housing market remains healthy, and has rebounded from a weak fourth quarter following natural disasters around the country.

Housing starts have been somewhat slow this year, as homebuilders struggle to keep costs low amid rising material and labor costs. Groundbreakings also hit an eight-month low in February. [WSJ]Dennis Lynch