New-Home Sales Inching Upward

The sale of new U.S. homes rose for the second straight month in April, a good sign for the Spring housing market.
According to the Commerce Department, sales of newly constructed single-family homes in April increased to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 323,000 homes.
Some economists had expected sales to decline to a 295,000 annual rate.
The 323,000 homes sold is a 7.3 percent improvement above the revised March rate of 301,000, but it’s still 23.1 percent below the April 2010 estimate of 420,000.
To put the numbers in perspective, keep in mind that a healthy housing market would include a pace of approximately 700,000 new-home sales a month.
But, to look on the bright side, at least we are above the rate posted in February and last August of 278,000, which matched the lowest pace on record dating back to 1963.
Even brighter: New-home sales increased in all four regions in April:
*Midwest: Up 4.9 percent
*West: Up 15.1 percent
*Northeast: Up 7.7 percent
*South: Up 4.3 percent
Brighter still: The number of unsold new homes in April fell 2.8 percent to a record-low 175,000. That’s the equivalent of a 6.5-month supply at the April sales pace, which is the smallest inventory seen since April of last year.
Finally, the Commerce Department reported that the median sales price of new homes sold in April was $217,900. That is a more than 2 percent increase from March and a 4.6 percent improvement over prices in April 2010.
All in all, a pretty good report for the month of April.