The U.S. new home sales report revealed a big 4.5% jump
The U.S. new home sales report revealed a big 4.5% jump in March to a 692k pace, against expectations of a decline, after rising 5.9% (was 4.9%) in February to a 662k (was 667k) pace, but with downward revisions to January and December sales that left a weaker Q4 sales average. Sales rose in all regions except the Northeast. Analysts saw a 4.0% median price drop to $302,700 in March, from $315,200 (was $315,300). Inventories sat at 344k in March, versus 345k (was 340k) in February, and compared to a cycle-high of 348k (was 342k) in January. In Q1, new home sales rose at a 72.8% pace, up solidly from a -18.4% figure (was 3.6%) in Q4. Analysts expect a slower sales pace of 652k in Q2. New home sales have risen 156% from the 273k record-low in February of 2011, alongside smaller cyclical climbs of 33% for pending home sales and 51% for existing home sales from lows in 2010. Analysts saw big cyclical climbs of 139% for housing starts and 147% for permits from lows in 2009, and 177% for new home construction from a low in 2011. Analysts expect Q1 GDP growth of 2.6%, with a 0.7% growth rate in "real" residential construction after a -4.7% figure in Q4. Analysts expect a growth rate for "real" nonresidential construction of 2.8% in Q1 after a -3.9% pace in Q4. Analysts expect growth for real government purchases of 3.9% in Q1 after a -0.4% clip in Q4.