New-home sales sank in December, with sales of new, single-family homes down 9.3 percent to 625,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The average new-home sales price was $398,900, while the median was $335,400. New-home listing inventory was 295,000—5.7-months supply.

“December’s drop in new-home sales was not unexpected,” says Joseph Kirchner, senior economist at®. “After sales skyrocketed in November—with a record 17.5 percent increase—there were hardly any new homes left on the market to buy in December. The good news is new-home permits and starts have been increasing over the last few months, so the supply of new homes should be up slightly for the spring market.”

“Despite the dip in December’s new-home sales, we can continue to feel confident that residential building will persist steadily, especially as we begin to approach the busy selling season,” says Bill Banfield, executive vice president at Quicken Loans. “We can tip our hats to a strong jobs market, low mortgage rates and a jump in home equity for the strongest annual sales we’ve seen in a decade.”

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