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New Home Sales Rise in May

Sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 16.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 676,000 units in May from a downwardly revised reading in April, according to newly released data by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau. The May rate is 12.7 percent higher than the May 2019 pace. 

"The May sales numbers are in line with rising builder sentiment," says Chuck Fowke, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders. "With home building considered an essential business, this solid sales report is another indicator that housing is leading the economic recovery."

"In a sign of growing demand fueled in part by record low mortgage rates, builder price incentives eased in May and home prices registered an upturn," says Robert Dietz, NAHB chief economist. "Sales are 1.9 percent higher on a year-to-date basis and our NAHB Home Building Geography Index points to construction gains in lower density markets like smaller metros and large metro exurbs in the months ahead."

Inventory fell to a 5.6 months' supply, with 318,000 new single-family homes for sale, 16.4 percent lower than May 2019. Of that total, just 76,000 are completed, ready to occupy.