US new-home sales fell more than expected in April

Economic Indicators Dow Jones Newswires

(Reuters)

New-home sales fell sharply in April after reaching a nine-year high the prior month, a possible sign of weaker demand after a runup in prices. 

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Purchases of new, single-family homes--a narrow slice of all U.S. home sales--fell 11.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 569,000 in April, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected sales to drop 1%. 

New-home sales in March reached a rate of 642,000, the highest since October 2007. Sales figures are highly volatile month to month. Over a broader period, the market appears to be stable. New-home sales climbed 0.5% in April from a year earlier. 

At the current sales pace, there was a 5.7 months supply of new homes on the market in April. There were 268,000 new homes for sale in April, a level unmatched since July 2009. 

The median sale price for a new home sold in April was $309,200, down from $318,700 in March. 

The U.S. housing market picked up steam toward the end of 2016, momentum that carried into the early months of this year. 

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The National Association of Realtors reports sales of existing homes, which account for the bulk of the market, on Wednesday. 

A copy of the full report is available at: http://www.census.gov/construction/nrs. 

By Sarah Chaney and Josh Mitchell

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