U.S. New-Home Sales Rise in May, Prices Hit Record

By Sarah Chaney and Jeffrey SparshottFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

New-home sales rose in May and prices hit a record level, more evidence of strong demand and tight inventories in the housing market.

Purchases of new, single-family homes--a narrow slice of all U.S. home sales--rose 2.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 610,000 in May, the Commerce Department said Friday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected a sales pace of 590,000.

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New-home sales have see-sawed so far in 2017, reaching a rate of 644,000 in March and then falling in April to 593,000. Over a broader period, the market for new homes appears to be picking up. From a year earlier, new-home sales rose 8.9% in May and so far this year have climbed 12.2%.

At the current sales pace, there was a 5.3 months' supply of new homes on the market in May.

The median sale price for a new home sold in May was $345,800, the highest recorded for data dating back to 1963. The average sale price also came in the highest at $406,400.

Earlier this week, the National Association of Realtors reported sales of existing homes, which compose the bulk of the market, rose 1.1% in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.62 million.

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

Write to Sarah Chaney at sarah.chaney@wsj.com and Jeffrey Sparshott at jeffrey.sparshott@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 23, 2017 10:15 ET (14:15 GMT)