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--Headline Decrease Follows March Surge To 723,000
--April Homes Supply Down 0.9%; Months Supply Rises To 5.9 Months
--Median Home Sales Prices Surges To $342,200, High Since Dec 2017
By Kevin Kastner and Harrison Clarke
     WASHINGTON (MNI) - New single-family home sales fell by 6.9% to a 
673,000 annual rate in April after a March surge, led by declines in 
sales in the West, Midwest, and South regions, data released by the 
Commerce Department Thursday showed. 
     The new home sales pace was just above the 670,000 rate expected by 
an MNI survey of analysts and just below the 675,000 Bloomberg 
consensus, and followed upward revisions to the last two months. Annual 
revisions were included with the data. 
     As a result, market participants are likely to see the April 
decline as payback for the very strong March reading, and reflective of 
a price surge in the current month. The unadjusted sales pace was 8.2% 
above its year ago level. 
     Here are the key findings from the release: 
     - New homes sales in March were revised up to a 723,000 pace from 
the 692,000 previously announced rate. The February pace was revised up 
to 669,000 from 662,000. The April sales pace was just below the first 
quarter average of 679,000 after the revisions are included. 
     - When broken down regionally, the drop in April headline sales was 
due to declines in the West (-8.3%), the Midwest (-7.4%) and the South 
(-7.3%). The only gain was in the Northeast region (+11.5%). 
     - The supply of new homes for sale fell by 0.9% in the month to a 
level of 332,000. The current level of supply is 11.0% higher than a 
year earlier, suggesting that supply is still adequate to meet demand. 
     - Based on the movements in sales and supply in April, the months' 
supply rose to 5.9 months from the March months' supply of 5.6 months. 
The April months' supply was up 3.5% from its 5.7 months level a year 
ago. Supply of new homes remains fairly high relative to sales, as 
opposed to the very tight supply of existing homes available for sale. 
     - The median sales price rose by 11.9% to $342,200 from $305,800 in 
March, hitting its highest point since December 2017. The median price 
stands 8.8% above the $314,400 level in April 2018. 
     ** MNI Washington Bureau (202) 371-2121 ** 
[TOPICS: MAUDS$,MT$$$$,M$U$$$,MAUDR$]