U.S.: New Home Sales Down 7% in December; Up 16.4% for 2013 Over 2012

U.S.: New Home Sales Down 7% in December; Up 16.4% for 2013 Over 2012
Photo by David M. Kinchen

Sales of newly built, single-family homes fell 7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 414,000 units in December, according to figures released Monday, Jan. 27, 2014 by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau. Despite the monthly drop, home sales in 2013 were up 16.4 percent over the previous year.

The median sales price of new houses sold in December 2013 was $270,200; the average sales price was $311,400. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of December was 171,000. This represents a supply of five months at the current sales rate. Although this is an increase over the previous month, it is due to the slower sales pace in December.

An estimated 428,000 new homes were sold in 2013. This is 16.4 percent  above the 2012 figure of 368,000.

“December’s decline in new-home sales follows elevated levels in the previous two months and means the fourth quarter was still much stronger than the third,” said Rick Judson, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. “While we expect sales to gain strength in 2014, builders still face considerable constraints, including tight credit conditions for home buyers, and a limited supply of labor and buildable lots.”

“Consumers are getting used to more realistic mortgage rates, which still remain favorable on a historical basis,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “As household formations and pent-up demand continue to emerge, we anticipate that 2014 will be a strong year for housing.” 

Regionally, new-home sales activity fell 36.4 percent in the weather-battered Northeast, 7.3 percent in the South and 8.8 percent in the West. The Midwest posted a gain of 17.6 percent.

 

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