Sales of new homes surged in April by the biggest amount in 14 years, but the median price of a new home dropped by the largest amount on record. The mixed signals left no clear picture of whether the worst of the nation’s housing slump is over.
The Commerce Department reported that sales of new single-family homes jumped by 16.2 percent in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 981,000 units. That was far better than the tiny 0.2 percent gain that economists had been expecting.
However, the median price of a new home sold last month fell to $229,100, a record 11.1 percent decline from the previous month. The big price decline indicated that builders are slashing prices in an effort to move a huge overhang of unsold homes.
The jump in sales was the biggest increase since a 16.4 percent surge in new home sales that occurred in April 1993.