March New Home Sales Jumps, Surprises Forecasts

This morning's release of the March New Home Sales from the Census Bureau came in at 621K, up 5.8% month-over-month from a revised 587K in February. Seasonally adjusted estimates for December and January were also revised. The Investing.com forecast was for 583K.

Here is the opening from the report:

Sales of new single-family houses in March 2017 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 621,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 5.8 percent (±15.5 percent)* above the revised February rate of 587,000 and is 15.6 percent (±15.0 percent) above the March 2016 estimate of 537,000.

The median sales price of new houses sold in March 2017 was $315,100. The average sales price was $388,200. [Full Report]

For a longer-term perspective, here is a snapshot of the data series, which is produced in conjunction with the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The data since January 1963 is available in the St. Louis Fed's FRED repository here. We've included a six-month moving average to highlight the trend in this highly volatile series.

New Home Sales

Over this time frame, we see the steady rise in new home sales following the 1990 recession and the acceleration in sales during the real estate bubble that peaked in 2005.