Sales of new single-family homes rose sharply in March, increasing 20.7% to 1.021 million at a seasonally adjusted annual rate from a 846,000 pace in February. Sales are an astonishing 66.8% above the year ago level (see top of first chart). Sales were up in three of the four regions of the country in March with strong double-digit gains in the Northeast, the South, and the Midwest but a 30.0% drop in the West. From a year ago, sales are also up in three regions: 78.4% in the Midwest, 90.1% in the South, and 108.7% in the Northeast, but down 2.0% in the West.
While sales of new single-family homes rose in March, sales in the market for existing single-family homes, which account for around 90% of total existing-home sales, fell 4.3%, coming in at a 5.30 million seasonally adjusted annual rate. From a year ago, sales are up 10.4%. The March pace is the ninth consecutive month above the 5 million mark but is down from a recent peak of 6.01 million in October 2020 (see top of first chart).