New Home Sales Increase 3.3 Percent In April

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Commerce released their New Residential Sales report for April. According to the report, sales of new single-family homes rose 3.3 percent over March’s revised rate and are 9.9 percent above year-before levels. The gains put new-home sales at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 343,000, up from March’s revised rate of 332,000. The median sales price of new homes sold in April was $235,700; the average was $282,600. At the current sales pace, there was a 5.1-month supply of new homes available for sale at the end of the month. More here and here.

Housing Starts Up 30 Percent From Last Year

According to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, privately-owned housing starts in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 717,000. That’s 2.6 percent above March’s revised number and 29.9 percent above April 2011. Single-family housing starts were also up in April, rising 2.3 percent from the month before. And though total building permits fell after rising 4.5 percent in March, single-family authorizations were at a rate of 475,000, which is a 1.9 percent increase over March’s revised figure of 466,000. More here.

Industry Insiders Say Housing Market Has Turned A Corner

Speaking at an economic conference in Washington, Shaun Donovan, secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, said the housing market has turned a corner. Donovan cited sales statistics, the number of signed contracts, and the decreasing number of households falling into foreclosure as evidence that the market has made progress over the past few years. Donovan’s remarks echo the increasingly positive forecasts being released by industry insiders and market analysts. For example, Fitch Ratings’ most recent outlook says housing starts should see a 10 percent increase in 2012, with new home sales up 8.0 percent. And Capital Economics’ Paul Diggle expects housing to become a boost to economic growth in the near future. More here, here, and here.