The Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reported that new single-family home sales rose an annualized 9.6 percent in January. The number of new home sales increased from 427,000 units at the annual rate in December to 468,000 in January, their highest level since July 2008. Still, new home sales have been highly volatile over the past year, falling to a low point of 373,000 in July. On a year-over-year basis, sales have risen 2.2 percent since January 2013.
These relatively positive figures stand in contrast to other residential construction data of late, including housing starts and existing home sales, both of which have seen negative impacts from weather. Each region in the country experienced monthly gains except for the Midwest, where weather might have been a factor.
The inventory of new homes for sale has generally fallen since peaking at 5.5 months of supply in July (not coincidently when new home sales were at a low point). The number of months of supply on the market declined from 5.2 months in December to 4.7 months in January. The median home price was $265,100, which was unchanged from the month before but up 3.4 percent from the year before.
Chad Moutray is the chief economist, National Association of Manufacturers.
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