New-home sales rise adds resilience to recovery
Sales of new homes rose in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 417,000. The increase added to evidence of a sustained housing recovery at the start of the spring buying season.
The Commerce Department said Tuesday that sales of new homes increased 1.5 percent. The gain brought the level higher than February's pace of 411,000, though below January's 445,000 — the fastest pace since July 2008.
New-home sales are still below the 700,000 pace considered healthy by most economists. But the pace has increased 18.5 percent from 352,000 a year ago.
Most economists see more gains ahead, as housing is likely to remain a consistent driver of economic growth this year.
“With increasing signs of a softer U.S. economy springing up in the spring, we can take comfort in the resilience of the housing recovery,” said Jennifer Lee, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets.
An expanding job market and near-record-low mortgage rates are spurring more Americans to buy houses. The rise in demand is helping to boost sales and prices in most markets. Higher prices tend to make homeowners feel wealthier and encourage more spending.
A limited supply of both new and previously occupied homes has also helped boost prices.
The inventory of new homes for sale increased 2 percent in March to 153,000, the second straight gain. Still, that's the equivalent of a 4.4 month supply at the current sales pace and historically lean, according to Jim O'Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics.
The median price of a new home rose to $247,000 in March. That's 3 percent higher than a year ago.
The March sales gain came from a 20.6 percent increase in the Northeast and a 19.4 percent rise in the South. Sales fell 20.9 percent in the West, where problems of supply have hampered home buying. Sales were down 12.1 percent in the Midwest.
Sales of previously-occupied homes dipped in March from February, according to the National Association of Realtors. Still, sales were 10.3 percent higher than a year earlier.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pittsburgh’s tech startup activity rates last of 40 metro areas in report
- After years of downsizing, big houses make comeback
- New J.C. Penney CEO comes from middle-income America
- Corporate America speaking out on social issues, getting results
- Aetna to buy rival Humana for $35B
- How to land that 1st job after college
- Floating homes offer ‘affordable’ option in San Francisco area
- Truffle dogs sniff out pungent fungus prized by foodies
- Importance stressed of securing your online banking
- U.S. employers add 223K jobs, jobless rate falls to 5.3%
- Obama overtime proposal slammed