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November New Home Sales At 31-Month High

New home sales jumped 4.4 percent in November to 377,000, the highest level since April 2010, the ""Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development"":http://www.census.gov/construction/nrs/pdf/newressales_201211.pdf reported Thursday. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected the report to show a sales pace of 375,000. Both the average and median price for a new home rose as well.

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Sales for October were revised downward, making the month-month increase larger.

The number of homes for sale at the end of November increased to 149,000 ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô the highest level since January ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô from 147,000 in October. The months' supply of new homes for sale fell to 4.7 from 4.9 in October. The months' supply has averaged 4.8 this year, the lowest since 2005 when the average was 4.5.

The report covered the same month in which Census and HUD reported builders completed 520,000 single family homes. The home sales report confirmed the sharp jump in the National Association of Home Builders' Housing Market Index, a measure of builder confidence for November when the index, shot up four points to 45, its highest level since May 2006 when Census and HUD reported a new home sales pace of 1,086,000, a drop of 37,000 from the previous month.

New home sales are up 15.3 percent from November 2011, slightly faster than the 15.0 percent year-year gain registered in October.

The median price of a new home in November was $246,200, up $8,700 or 3.7 percent from October and $31,900 or 14.9 percent from November 2011. The average home price in November was $299,700, an increase of $27,500 or 10.1 percent from October and $49,700 or 19.9 percent from November 2011. The year-year increase in the average price was the largest since Census and HUD began tracking average prices in 1975.

This report is based on sales contracts, not closings and may have been affected by Hurricane Sandy as the revised data showed a sharp drop in October sales in the storm-impacted Northeast.

The parallel report from the National Association of Realtors ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô its Pending Home Sales Index ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô will be issued Friday.

The increase in inventory relieved pressure on prices which rose ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô both average and median -- for the first time since August.

Homes with price tags of more than $300,000 represented 10 percent of November sales, up 5 percent in October, cracking double digits for the first time since August. Homes priced below $200,000 represented 34 percent of November sales, down from 36 percent in October.

Regionally, sales increased in two of the four Census regions, up 38,000 to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 218,000 in the Midwest and 3,000 in the Northeast to 27,000. The sales pace fell 18,000 in the West to 83,000 and 7,000 in the Midwest to 49,000.

Despite the increase in sales in November, single family housing starts dropped in the same month as did permits.

_Hear Mark Lieberman every Friday on P.O.T.U.S. radio, Sirius-XM 124, at 6:40 am and again at 9:40 am eastern time._

About Author: Mark Lieberman

Mark Lieberman is the former Senior Economist at Fox Business Network. He is now Managing Director and Senior Economist at Economics Analytics Research. He can be heard each Friday on The Morning Briefing on POTUS on Sirius-XM Radio 124.
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