The Housing Chronicles Blog: Have new home sales hit bottom?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Have new home sales hit bottom?

Have new home sales in the U.S. finally hit bottom? It's certainly a question on the minds of many in the building industry, and there's certainly no shortage of funds remaining on the sidelines waiting to pounce on the right opportunities. From an AP story via Yahoo! Finance:

After a staggering 74 percent decline from the peak in July 2005, new U.S. home sales appear to be bottoming out.

The pace of home sales, which hit a record-low in January, jumped in February and was flat in March, the Commerce Department said Friday. At the same time, the inventory of new homes for sale dropped a badly needed 5 percent from February levels....

Sales varied dramatically around the country. The best performance was in the West, where sales rose more than 15 percent from February. The worst turnout was in the Northeast, where sales sank more than 32 percent. They were unchanged in the South, and down nearly 8 percent in the Midwest.

Since the data measures signed contracts to buy new homes rather than completed sales, they probably got a boost from the new $8,000 tax credit for first-time buyers passed in mid-February. In addition, California offers a $10,000 state tax credit for buyers of new homes, and that's likely boosting sales in that state.

An index of builders' confidence released earlier this month posted its biggest one-month jump in five years as many homebuyers seized on lower prices and incentives and took advantage of lower interest rates and tax credits...

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