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Median prices for new-home sales slid 11.4 percent and average prices for new-home sales dropped 5.3 percent from April to May, the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today.

The median sales price of new houses sold in May 2004 was $198,400 and the average sales price was $256,700. In April, the median sales price of new homes was $221,200 and the average sales price was $270,400.

There were 372,000 new homes for sale at the end of May, representing a supply of 3.3 months at the current sales rate, according to a seasonally adjusted estimate. At the end of April there were 387,000 houses for sale, representing a 4.3-month supply.

Sales of new single-family homes in May reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.37 million, which is 25.3 percent above the May 2003 estimate and 14.8 percent over the revised April rate, the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today. The May 2004 numbers have an uncertainty of about 12 percent, meaning the actual percentages could be anywhere from 12 percent lower to 12 percent higher.

In April 2004, new-home sales declined 11.8 percent from a record month in March but were still an estimated 6.4 percent above April 2003 numbers.

The number of new houses sold and for sale in the Northeast increased 63.5 percent from May 2003 to May 2004, and the West had the lowest regional increase of 16.3 percent in that period. There were about 663,000 new houses sold and for sale in the South in May 2004, which was by the far the highest regional total. The West, with 379,000 new homes sold and for sale, had the next highest total.

The national supply of homes shrunk an estimated 13.2 percent from May 2003 to May 2004.

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Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to glenn@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 137.

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