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So far, so good for new home sales in March.

The Commerce Department reports new single-family houses sold at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 621,000 last month, up 5.8% from February and 15.6% above the March 2016 rate of 537,000.

"The March sales numbers are the second highest on record since the Great Recession,” said National Association of Home Builders Chief Economist Robert Dietz, “which is especially encouraging considering the poor weather conditions throughout many parts of the country."

Prices and inventory

The median sales price of new houses sold in March came to $315,100, a gain of 1.2%. The median is the point at which half the houses sold for more and half for less. The average sales price jumped 5.6% to $388,200.

The seasonally-adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of March was 268,000, or a supply of 5.2 months at the current sales rate.

"With tight existing home inventory, rising household formations and continued job creation,” Dietz projected, “we can expect further growth in new home sales moving forward."

The complete report is available on the Commerce department website

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FHFA home prices

Separately, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has it's own take on the cost of housing.

The agency reports seasonally adjusted monthly House Price Index (HPI) rose 0.8% in February, and revised it's January report to show an increase of 0.2%.

For the nine census divisions, seasonally adjusted monthly price changes from January to February ranged from -0.1% in the South Atlantic division to +1.8% in the East South Central division.

The year-over-year changes were all positive, ranging from +4.6% in the Middle Atlantic division to +9.5% in the Mountain division.

The monthly HPI is calculated using home sales price information from mortgages sold to, or guaranteed by, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

From February 2016 to February 2017, house prices were up 6.4%.

The full report may be found on the FHFA website.


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