New single-family home sales plummeted 14.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 384,000 for March, according to a Commerce Department report (link opens a PDF) released today. After February's rate was revised up 9,000 to 449,000, this latest report delivers a major blow to the purported housing market recovery. Analysts had expected growth, predicting March's annual rate to clock in at a strong 455,000.
On a regional level, only the Northeast managed to stay in the black, with sales up 12.5%. Sales in the South fell 14.4%, while sales in the West dropped 16.7%, and Midwest sales crumbled 21.5%. In the past 12 months, national sales of new homes are down 13.3%.
At the current rate of sales, there is an estimated 6 months of supply, a full month more than in February. The Wall Street Journal said that "arguably unsustainably high prices" are the main culprit behind this month's major drop. At $290,000, the median sales price of a new home jumped nearly $30,000 in a single month.
These latest numbers follow on the heels of a National Association of Realtors existing home sales report released yesterday showing that March sales of existing homes slumped 0.2%.