After three straight months of gains, April's new home sales were expected to give back a little and they did. The U.S. Census Bureau said sales of newly constructed homes were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 673,000 units, a 6.9 percent decline from March. The retrenchment was made even more likely by a significant upside revision to those March numbers; from 692,000 in the original estimate to 723,000, the highest number in at least a year. Despite April's decline, the month's sales pace is well above that in April 2018, up 7.0 percent from that estimate of 629,000.
Analysts had predicted sales would slow to an annual rate between 640,000 and 696,000 units. The consensus of those polled by Econoday was 680,000.
On a non-adjusted basis there were 66,000 newly constructed homes sold in April, down from 72,000 in March. For the year through the end of April sales total 244,000, up from 228,000 during the same period in 2018. This is a 6.7 percent increase.
At the end of the reporting period there were an estimated 332,000 new homes available for sale. This is estimated at a 5.9-month supply at the current rate of sales, up from 5.6 months in March and 5.7 months in April 2018. Of the 66,000 homes sold in April almost exactly one-third fell into each construction category - not yet started, under construction, and completed.
The median price of a home sold in April was $342,200 and the average price was $393,700. Sale prices in April 2018 were $314,400 and $385,100 respectively.
Sales slipped in three of the four regions, improving only in the Northeast where they increased 11.5 percent from the prior month but were down 12.1 percent from the previous April. In the Midwest sales slipped by 7.4 percent from March but were 3.6 percent higher year-over-year.
Sales in the South dropped 7.3 percent but scored a 5.1 percent annual gain. In the West sales were down 8.3 percent but outpaced the previous April by 16.8 percent.