New home sales in the U.S. rose by more than expected in the month of April, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Wednesday, with the report also showing a notable increase in prices for new homes.
The report showed that new home sales rose 3.3 percent to an annual rate of 343,000 in April from the revised March rate of 332,000. Economists had expected new home sales to climb to 335,000 from the 328,000 originally reported for the previous month.
The stronger than expected new home sales growth in April reflected notable increases in sales in the Midwest and the West, where new home sales jumped 28.2 percent and 27.5 percent, respectively.
New home sales in the Northeast also rose by 7.7 percent during the month, while new home sales in the South fell by 10.6 percent.
The Commerce Department also said that the median sales price of new houses sold in April was $235,700, up 0.7 percent from $234,000 in March and up 4.9 percent from $224,700 in the same month a year ago.
Chris Low, chief economist at FTN Financial, said, "Sales have clearly bottomed and are slowly improving, and prices appear to have bottomed as well."
"Housing is not, and won't be, a significant contributor to growth, but it is contributing something, which is more than could be said at this time last year," he added.
The report also showed that there were 146,000 new houses for sale at the end of April, up from 144,000 at the end of March.
The number of new homes available for sale represents 5.1 months of supply at the current sales rate compared to 5.2 months of supply in March.
Tuesday morning, the National Association of Realtors released a separate report showing a rebound in U.S. existing home sales in the month of April following a decrease in the previous month.
NAR said existing home sales rose 3.4 percent to an annual rate of 4.62 million in April from a downwardly revised 4.47 million in March.
While sales came in below economist estimates, the report also showed the second consecutive month of annual home price growth.
by RTT Staff Writer
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