New home sales exploded in November, rising 16.9 percent from October's dismal performance to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 657,000 units. The report from the U.S Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, delayed by over a month by the partial government shutdown, was in sharp contrast to the 8.9 percent decline from September to October with a reported 544,000 in annualized sales.  The October number was also revised upward to 562,000 units.

Sales have been down on a monthly basis in nearly every report since May, so despite the large November gains, new home sales remain 7.7 percent lower on an annual basis.  Sales in November 2017 were estimated at an annualized 712,000 units.

The results blew analysts estimates out of the water.  Those polled by Econoday had expected numbers in the 535,000 to 581,000 range.  The consensus was for 560,000 annualized sales.

On a non-adjusted basis there were 48,000 newly constructed homes sold in November compared to 44,000 in October.  Sales for the year through November totaled 583,000 units compared to 568,000 through the first 11 months of 2017.

There were an estimated 336,000 new homes available for sale at the end of November. At the current rate of sales this is estimated to be a 7.0-month supply, down from 7.6 months at the end of October.

Home prices declined substantially. The median price of homes sold in November was $302,400 compared to $343,400 in November 2017. The average price was $362,400, down from $388,500 a year earlier.

Sales jumped by 100 percent in the Northeast when compared to October and were up 15.0 percent year-over-year. There was also substantial improvement in the Midwest, a 30.5 percent increase. That region however still lags by 2.5 percent on an annual basis.

The South saw sales increase by 20.6 percent for the month but there remained a deficit of 0.8 percent compared to the previous November. Sales in the West dropped by 5.9 percent and are now down 25.9 percent for the year.

The new date for releasing the December report on new home sales, also delayed by the shutdown, has not yet been announced.