U.S. New Home Sales Surge in September

By Sarah Chaney and Harriet TorryFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

U.S. new-home sales rose in September to the highest level since October 2007, a sign of strong buyer demand despite ongoing tightness in inventories.

Purchases of newly built single-family homes--a narrow slice of all U.S. home sales--increased 18.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 667,000 in September from the previous month, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. This marks the highest month-over-month percentage increase since January 1992. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected sales to fall 0.9% in September to a 555,000 annual rate.

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From a year earlier, new-home sales increased 17% in September, and year-to-date sales have risen 8.6%. Sales of new homes last month rose at a swift pace in both the Northeast and the South.

At the current sales pace, there was a 5.0-month supply of new homes on the market at the end of September, well below the 6.0-month supply in August and previous months' levels.

In the wider housing market, inventory has been tight recently--in part because of lackluster home construction--and that has contributed to a run-up in home prices. The median sale price for a new home sold in September was $319,700.

Sales of existing homes, which represent the bulk of the U.S. market, rose 0.7% in September from a month earlier to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.39 million, the National Association of Realtors said last week.

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 Harriet Torry at harriet.torry@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 25, 2017 10:15 ET (14:15 GMT)