New figures from the U.S. Commerce Department show home sales were up 7.6 percent from April to May and up 19.8 from May 2011 in the latest sign that the housing market may be picking up momentum.
New single-family homes in May were selling at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 369,000 homes, according to the Commerce Department. That’s about half what economists consider healthy, but was the fastest rate since federal tax credits expired in 2010, the Associated Press reported.
Wells Fargo Securities economists Mark Vitner and Anika Khan said in a note Monday afternoon that the report coincides with optimism among builders.
“The improvement in sales helps support the recent improvement in builder confidence, which has encouraged builders to carry a little more inventory,” the Wells Fargo economists said.
The median sales price of new houses sold in May 2012 was $234,500; the average sales price was $273,900. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of May was 145,000. This represents a supply of 4.7 months at the current sales rate, according to the federal figures.
June 25, 2012, Department of Commerce announcement of the latest sales figures.
June 25, 2012, Associated Press (Via NPR.org), “New home sales pace fastest since 2010.”