A strange and exciting anomaly surfaced in March housing data which hasn’t happened in more than 15 years. The median price of a newly built home was slightly lower than the median price of an existing home sold.
The national median price of a newly built, single-family home sold in March was $330,800, according to the U.S. Census. The national median price of an existing, single-family home sold in March was $334,500, according to the National Association of Realtors. But you aren’t likely to pay less for a new home than a used one – and that’s due in large part to the shortage of lower-priced homes on the market.
The chief economist Robert Dietz at the National Association of Homebuilders said, “On a per-square-foot basis, within comparable markets, a new home is still priced higher than an existing home”.
National median prices mean that half the homes in the market sold for less, half for more. They are not repeat-sales indexes, like the much-watched S&P Case-Shiller home price index. A repeat-sales index measures the increase or decrease in the price of similar homes in similar places over time.
The number of existing homes priced between $100,000 and $250,000 that sold in March was down 10% from a year ago because there are few for sale. Demand is high. Meanwhile, the number of homes priced between $750,000 and $1 million that sold was up 82% from a year ago. Sales of million-dollar-plus homes were up a stunning 108%. That skews the median much much higher.