The good news in housing continued this morning with a report on May new home sales.  According to the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) sales of newly constructed homes rose 2.2 percent compared to April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 546,000 units.  May sales were thus a somewhat astounding 19.5 percent higher than in May 2014 when the rate was 457,000 units.  April's sales, already estimated at 6.4 percent higher than March was revised upward from 517,000 units to 534,000.  On a non-seasonally adjusted basis sales were estimated at 51,000, the same as in April.

The May numbers came in above even the highest numbers predicted by analysts in an Econoday survey.  Those numbers ranged from 505,000 to 540,000 with a consensus at 525,000.

The May increase was driven primarily by a surge in sales in the Northeast.  On a seasonally adjusted annual basis sales there increased 87.5 percent from March but, paradoxically, were 21.1 percent lower than in May 2014.  Sales were down month-over-month by 5.7 percent in the Midwest and were 12.0 percent lower than in the previous May.  Sales decreased 4.3 percent for the month in the South but were precisely one-third higher than the previous year.  The West rose both on a monthly and annual basis by 13.1 percent and 25.5 percent respectively.

The Census/HUD report said there were 206,000 new homes for sale at the end of the reporting period, an estimated 4.5 month supply.  Both numbers were essentially unchanged from those in April.

The median sales prices of a new home sold in May was $282,800 and the average price was $337,000.  The median and average prices of homes sold in May 2014 were $285,600 and $323,500 respectively.