U.S. New Home Sales Pull Back Much More Than Expected In April

After reporting an unexpected jump in new home sales in the U.S. in the previous month, the Commerce Department released a report on Thursday showing new home sales pulled back by much more than anticipated in the month of April.

The Commerce Department said new home sales plunged by 6.9 percent to an annual rate of 673,000 in April after spiking by 8.1 percent to an upwardly revised rate of 723,000 in March.

Economists had expected new home sales to drop by about 2.5 percent to a rate of 675,000 from the 692,000 originally reported for the previous month.

With the upward revision, the annual rate of new home sales in March was the highest since reaching 727,000 in October of 2007.

The bigger than expected pullback in new home sales came as notable decreases in sales in the South, Midwest and West more than offset a jump in sales in the Northeast.

Meanwhile, the report said the median sales price of new houses sold in April was $342,200, up 11.9 percent from $305,800 in March and up 8.8 percent from $314,400 in the same month a year ago.

The estimate of new houses for sale at the end of April was 332,000, representing 5.9 months of supply at the current sales rate.

On Tuesday, the National Association of Realtors released a separate report showing an unexpected decrease in existing home sales in April.

NAR said existing home sales dipped by 0.4 percent to an annual rate of 5.19 million in April after plunging by 4.9 percent to a rate of 5.21 million in March.

The continued decrease came as a surprise to economists, who had expected existing home sales to jump by 2.7 percent to a rate of 5.35 million.

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