New single-family home sales jumped 15.6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 437,000 in January, according to a Department of Housing and Urban Development report [link opens in PDF] released today. After dropping off a revised 3.8% in December, this newest report reversed the sales slump and beat the consensus analyst estimates by nearly 15%.
On a regional basis, the West led the nation with new-home sales increasing 45.3% from December to January. The South's 3.2% gain kept the region positive, but lagged behind improvements in the Midwest (11.1%) and the Northeast (27.6%).
At the current rate of new home sales, there is an estimated 4.1 months of supply. This shrinking number is further evidence of a supply side growth issue. David Crowe, Chief Economist for the National Association of Home Builders, noted in a statement today that, "the razor-thin supply of new homes for sale is very concerning at a time when we are only about half-way back to what could be considered a 'normal' level of activity. Builders need to be able to refresh their inventories to keep the momentum going."
January's sales are 28.9% higher than a year ago, with the median sales price up just over 2% to $226,400.