NAHB: More New Home Sales Means More Jobs, Tax Revenue

Sales of new homes beat economists' expectations—more improvement could mean growth for the economy.

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A worker prepares to install lighting in a luxury town-home site in Plano, Texas.

More good news came out of the housing market Wednesday—sales of newly built homes ticked up more than 3 percent in April, according to the Commerce Department, exceeding economists' expectations and providing more credence to the notion that the market is finally stabilizing.

New home sales increased to a seasonally adjusted rate of 343,000, which, while still far below the 700,000 economists say indicates a healthy market, is still good news for the broader economy.

"What the numbers mean today is that we're on this path to probably have 60,000 more new homes built this year than last," Crowe says. "We'll get to about 360,000 this year and we barely got to 300,000 last year."

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The figures come on the heels of encouraging numbers in existing home sales released by the National Association of Realtors Tuesday, which showed a 3.4 percent increase in sales of previously owned homes and a significant bump in median home prices.

While the number of new homes built and sold remains lower than experts hoped, the economic impact of new construction still has a hand in buoying the economy overall. According to the National Association of Home Builders, every new single-family home built represents about 3 jobs created and about $90,000 in tax revenue.

David Crowe, chief economist at the NAHB, estimates another 180,000 jobs to be added and around $5.4 billion in tax revenue if home construction and sales continue at the same pace.

But that all depends on whether there's enough house hunters looking to buy brand new homes. Crowe is confident the demand will be there, but it will likely be concentrated in specific markets.

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"We have individual markets improving—it's not the country as a whole," he says. "There are 100 markets that are improving [according to the NAHB's Improving Markets Index], which means there will be demand for new homes to be built to satisfy that."

Together, today's new home sales numbers with Tuesday's existing home sales is encouraging Crowe says, but nothing to get too excited about.

"The housing market is stabilizing, but the rate of growth will be modest," Crowe adds.

Meg Handley is a business reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can reach her at mhandley@usnews.com and follow her on Twitter.