U.S.: New Home Sales Fall 14.5% in March

U.S.: New Home Sales Fall 14.5% in March
Photo by David M. Kinchen

Sales of newly built, single-family homes fell 14.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 384,000 units in March, according to data released Wednesday, April 23, 2014 by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau.

“We keep hearing from our members that tight credit conditions are preventing many first-time buyers and younger families from being able to buy a home,” said Kevin Kelly, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Wilmington, Del. “Congress must outline a clear policy on housing finance so that qualified buyers can get home loans. Otherwise, this continued uncertainty could threaten the housing recovery and overall economy.”

“Overly stringent underwriting standards for mortgages have had a detrimental effect on modest-priced markets and have hit first-time home buyers particularly hard,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “As a result, most of the sales are coming from a smaller pool of buyers who have a more established credit history, are more likely to finance with higher cash down payments and are purchasing higher-priced homes.”

Regionally, sales in March fell 21.5 percent in the Midwest, 14.4 percent in the South and 16.7 percent in the West. The Northeast was the exception to the rule, with a 12.5 percent increase.

The median sales price of new houses sold in March 2014 was $290,000; the average sales price was $334,200. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of March was 193,000. This represents a supply of six months at the current sales rate.

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