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U.S.: New Home Sales in January 9.6% Above December, 2.2% Above January 2013
The sales pace -- despite severe winter weather in much of the country -- is 9.6 percent above the revised December rate of 427,000 and is 2.2 percent above the January 2013 estimate of 458,000. New home sales rose to their highest annual rate in January since hitting an annual rate of 477,000 in July of 2008.
“The fact that the cold weather that hit much of the country didn’t stop home buyers from going out and purchasing a piece of the American dream is a great sign,” said Kevin Kelly, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Wilmington, Del. “However, the very low supply of new homes on the market and the continued concern of available buildable lots still have builders cautious about getting ahead of themselves.”
“We saw a weaker sales number in December 2013 than was previously trending, and I think much of January’s increase is due to sales catching up with pent up demand,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “Still, there is little doubt that historically low interest rates, affordable home prices and a healing economy are bringing buyers back into the marketplace.”
Regionally, new-home sales were generally strong with three of the four regions posting large gains. The South, the West and the Northeast showed improvement, with respective increases of 10.4 percent, 11.0 percent and 73.7 percent. New-home sales in the Midwest fell by 17.2 percent.
The median sales price of new houses sold in January 2014 was $260,100; the average sales price was $322,800. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of January was 184,000. This represents a supply of 4.7 months at the current sales rate.