US April new home sales rise 6.4%, but still below year-ago pace

23 May 2014 15:54 Source:ICIS News

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--US sales of new single-family homes rose by 6.4% in April from March, the Commerce Department said on Friday, but sales last month were still below the pace set in the same month of 2013.

In its monthly report, the department said that sales of new one-family homes in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 433,000, a gain from the upwardly revised March figure of 407,000. 

March sales initially had been estimated at 384,000, marking a precipitous 14.5% decline from the prior month. Even with the upwardly revised figure, March sales were still 9% lower than February’s.

Although home sales recovered some ground last month, the department said that the pace of selling remained below that of April 2013, down by 4.2%.

April marks the third straight month of lower sales than the same period last year, raising concerns about the wobbly housing sector recovery.

Within the sales data for April there were widely differing results.

The department said that single-family home sales shot up by 47.4% in the Midwest, but that strong performance was partly offset by a 26.7% drop in sales in the Northeast. Other regions of the country saw little change or a small advance.

The housing market is a key downstream consumer sector for the chemicals industry, driving demand for a wide variety of chemicals, resins and derivative products such as plastic pipe, insulation, paints and coatings, adhesives and synthetic fibres, among many others.

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) estimates that each new home built represents some $15,000 worth of chemicals and derivatives used in the structure or in production of component materials.

Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By Joe Kamalick