New-home inventories continue shrinking in April

WASHINGTON, May 28 -- The number of newly built single-family homes on the market shrank to 297,000 units in April, thinning supplies to their lowest level since May 2001, according to government figures released today. The report noted that the pace of new-home sales held virtually even with the previous month, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 352,000 units.

"The fact that the new-homes inventory is now below the 300,000 mark shows that builders have made substantial progress in winnowing down their backlogs to a much more comfortable level," noted Joe Robson, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Tulsa, Okla. April's results mark two consecutive years of monthly declines in the number of unsold new homes.

"This continued reduction in the new-homes inventory helps bring supply in line with demand, which is an important step toward the market's recovery. We can expect the pace of new home sales to bounce along the bottom a bit before picking back up towards the end of this quarter," noted NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.

Sales of newly built, single-family homes recorded a marginal 0.3 percent gain to 352,000 units in April from a downwardly revised pace in March. Meanwhile, the inventory of new homes for sale declined 4.2 percent to 297,000 units, which is a 10.1-month supply at the current sales pace.

Regionally, the pace of new home sales was mixed in April. No change was recorded in the Northeast or Midwest, while the South posted a nearly 2 percent increase and the West a 3.8 percent decline.

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