Americans purchased far more new homes in April than expected, a sign that the residential real estate impact of the coronavirus could very different than the crash feared by many forecasters.
Sales of newly-built single-family houses occurred at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 623,000, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. Economists had expected sales to fall to a seasonally adjusted rate of 485,000, according to Econoday.
The March number was revised down to 619,000 from 627,000. February and January were also revised lower.
The surprise surge in new home sales suggests that many city-dwellers, including younger first-time buyers, may be stepping up plans to purchase homes now that they are working remotely and many urban amenities—museums, theaters, restaurants, bars—are shuttered. A new flight to the suburbs may have been sparked by the pandemic.
The supply of homes for sale, meanwhile, held steady at 6.3 months, which is slightly above normal.