New home sales slide but prices are rising

November marked 3rd straight month of sales declines; median sales price rose to $335K


New home sales dropped across the U.S. again last month, while prices continued to rise.

There were 841,000 newly-built single-family homes sold in November, seasonally adjusted, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s monthly report. That’s down 11 percent from the 945,000 sales in October.

The Census Bureau’s report counts sales at the time contracts are signed, not closed, which makes the report a leading indicator of future transactions.

November was the third consecutive month that new home sales slid compared to the prior month, but the rate of sales continues to see year-over-year gains. November sales were up nearly 21 percent from a year ago, when 696,000 homes were sold.

The same month-over-month decline while maintaining annual growth occurred across all regions, except in the Midwest. There, November sales dropped 24 percent year-over-year, while also dropping 43 percent from October’s numbers.

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Prices continued to rise amid strong demand. The median sales price for new homes ticked up to $335,300, from $330,600 in October.

Low interest rates and the remote work revolution have helped propel the strong housing market, economists are beginning to express concern about the soaring prices that lock out first-time homebuyers.

Homebuilders are beginning to deliver new homes as construction reaches levels not seen since the 2007 bubble.

Inventory grew by about 3 percent by the end of the month with 286,000 new homes on the market from October. At the current sales pace, it would take 4.1 months for those homes to sell, up from 3.3 months of supply a month ago.