New Home Sales Plummet in March
New single-family home sales have finally felt the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. Sales plummeted 15.4% in March from the revised February rate, according to the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development. Sales are also 9.5% below March 2019.
"Despite the sharp decline in new home sales this month, the first quarter of 2020 was actually 6.7% higher than the same period last year, reflecting a strong pace prior to the virus outbreak," said National Association of Home Builders Chairman Dean Mon in a release. Wells Fargo Securities reports this is due to the mild weather and job growth that began 2020.
"March's drop in new home sales was the largest in six years and an even bigger decline is coming in April," added the Wells Fargo release. "Homebuilders are going to miss the bulk of the key selling season."
All four regions saw declines in March; however, the Northeast and West were hit the hardest with declines of 41.5% and 38.5%, respectively. Overall, new home sales were at their lowest point since May 2019. The drop was close to what was expected by economists polled by Reuters—predicting a 15% drop in March.
-Michael Miller, managing editor