New home sales rebounded in April following a dismal March report, signaling a late start to an active spring selling season.
According to estimates released Friday by the Commerce Department, sales of new single-family homes last month were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 433,000, a 6.4 percent improvement over March’s upwardly revised rate of 407,000. March sales were originally reported at 384,000.
Mark Vitner, senior economist and managing director at Wells Fargo, said more favorable weather may have helped boost sales, noting that the Midwest—where transactions rocketed up 47.4 percent—has enjoyed a mild tornado season relative to historical norms.
Growth in the South was slow at only 3.1 percent compared to March, while activity was flat in the West. Meanwhile, the Northeast saw a 26.7 percent drop in sales over the month.
Compared to last year, new home sales at the national level fell 4.2 percent short. Analysts anticipate this season will be milder than last year, when mortgage rates were just coming off of all-time lows and homes were comparatively more affordable.
“We were hoping we’d be a lot better than we were a year ago, so there’s a lot of disappointment, but we have to have stronger job growth than we’ve had,” Vitner said. “I think when we get the May numbers, we’ll be back even or slightly ahead.”
The Commerce Department reported the median price of new houses sold in April was $275,800, down nearly $6,000 compared to March. The average price was $320,100, down $6,600.
Meanwhile, the stock of new homes available for sale at the end of April was a seasonally adjusted 192,000, representing a supply of 5.3 months at the current sales rate.