The Housing Chronicles Blog: New home sales down but picture mixed

Thursday, February 28, 2008

New home sales down but picture mixed

Although national new home sales fell to the lowest level since 1995, it was still a mixed picture in January, with sales in the West rising by 2.2% and inventory falling by 11,000 units:

New-home sales took their third tumble in a row during January, sinking to the lowest point since early 1995.

Sales of single-family homes decreased by 2.8% last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 588,000, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. December new-home sales fell 4.0% to an annual rate to 605,000; originally, the government said December sales fell by 4.7% to 604,000. Sales declined 13.1% in November.

Economists forecast January sales at an annual rate of 600,000. The level of 588,000 was the lowest since February 1995's 559,000.

Year over year, new-home sales were 33.9% lower than the level in January 2007.

The median price of a new home decreased by 15.1% to $216,000 in January from $254,400 in January 2007. The average price decreased by 12.1% to $276,600 from $314,600 a year earlier. In December last year, the median price was $225,600 and the average was $274,700.

Inventories fell to an estimated 482,000 homes for sale at the end of January, down from December's 493,000...

Regionally last month, new-home sales decreased 2.4% in the South, 7.6% in the Midwest, and 10.3% in the Northeast. Sales rose 2.2% in the West.

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