New Home Sales Better Than Expected

More evidence that the housing market is beginning to loosen. New home sales rose to 526,000 in April, up from a revised 509,000 in March and beating the consensus estimate of 520,000, according to a Commerce Department release (PDF).

Mean price rose 1% year-over-year to $246,100. The price increase, however, likely reflects a change in mix rather than a substantive improvement in market fundamentals. Inventories dropped from 11.1 months of of supply to 10.6. The number of homes completed and waiting to be sold fell to 181,000, which was the lowest figure since July.

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