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Builders Benefiting from Strong Sales and Rising Prices

MAY 23, 2013 12:11pm ET
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New home sales rose 2.3% in April following an upward revision in March sales and prices rose at a fast pace, according to newly released government figures.

The Census Bureau reported Thursday that sales of newly constructed homes increased at a 454,000 seasonally adjusted annual rate in April, up from a 444,000 rate in March. (March sales were revised upward from a 417,000 rate.)

Sales fell by nearly 17% in the Northeast and 5% in the Midwest, while sales rose 3% in the South and 11% in the West.

Overall, new home sales are up 29% from April 2012 and prices are soaring.

The Census Bureau reported that the median price of a new home sold in April was $271,600, up 13% from a year ago. The average sales price was $330,800, up 16.6% from April 2012.

Some major builders are pacing sales and rising prices on a weekly basis because demand is so strong in certain markets.

A KB Home executive noted that they are “metering” sales to assure price increases while meeting sales objectives.

But small builders fortunate to get financing for one or two homes are selling as fast as they can. The banks won’t renew their credit until the homes are sold, according to National Association of Home Builders chief economist David Crowe.

NAHB economists expect builders will sell 460,000 single-family homes this year, up 26% from 2012.

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