US New and Existing Home Sales: May

New single-family home sales in the US reached the highest pace in six years in May.
According to estimates from the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development released Tuesday, new home sales were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 504,000 in May, a gain of 18.6 per cent over a slightly downwardly revised April of 425,000. The May 2014 rate of sales is the highest since May of 2008 and is a significant increase from the winter low point for sales in March’s 410,000.


Home Sales, US

As well, existing home sales rebounded from the winter quarter with the highest monthly increase in almost three years, boosting prospects for homebuilders, the National Association of Realtors reported Monday. Existing home sales increased 4.9 per cent in May, although that rally still left levels 5 per cent below the same period a year ago.
May 2014 total existing home sales were at a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.89 million units combined for single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops, up from 4.66 million units in April.

The bad news is that the first-time buyer share dropped to only 27 per cent, down from 29 per cent in April and May 2013. The historical average first-time buyer share is about 40 per cent. Tight lending conditions continue to buffet first-time buyers despite reports of easing standards, and a full recovery awaits their return.
Total existing housing inventory increased 2.2 per cent in May to 2.29 million homes. At the current sales rate, the May 2014 inventory represents a 5.6-month supply, down from a 5.7-month supply in April and down from a 6-month supply a year ago.

The May median sales price for existing homes of all types increased to US$213,400 from US$201,500 last month and is 5.1 per cent above the May 2013 level. The median condominium/co-op price increased again to US$212,300 in May, up from US$205,500 in April, and is up 6.6 per cent from May 2013.
For their part, new home inventories were flat in May, holding at the 189,000 revised level for April. Months-supply fell to 4.5 given the increase in the sales rate. Total inventory levels have remained in the 183,000 to 190,000 range since September 2013.
In May, there was a 50 per cent monthly increase in sales of homes not yet begun construction, rising from 12,000 for the month to 18,000, said the NAR.