The Census Bureau reported Wednesday that new-home sales fell to a 368,000 seasonally adjusted annualized rate in October, down 0.3% from September. (The September sales rate was revised downward by 30,000 units.)
The consensus among forecasters was that sales would decline slightly in October to a 383,000 rate. One Wall Street firm expected new-home sales would hit a 410,000 seasonally adjusted annual rate in October.
The new report shows that sales have been in a narrow range between 366,000 and 369,000 units (annualized) from July through October.
Overall, new-home sales are up 17% from October 2011. The September report showed new purchases rising 27% from a year ago.
“This was a disappointing update,” said Patrick Newport, an economist at IHS Global Insight.
“It indicates that demand for single-family homes is only slowly picking up, not accelerating, as the data previously showed. It also indicated that builders may have jumped the gun a little by accelerating the pace of construction of single-family homes.”