New home sales jump 17.5% in December

Sales of new single-family houses in December 2010 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 329,000, up 17.5% from the November pace of 280,000. 

The December estimate, released jointly by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, is the highest since April 2010. That month saw a relative frenzy of buying as the $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers expired April 30. 

The December new home sales figure is also 7.6% below the December 2009 estimate of 356,000.

According to the government report, which was issued Wednesday, the median sales price of new houses sold in December 2010 was $241,500; the average sales price was $291,400. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of December was 190,000. This represents a supply of 6.9 months at the current sales rate.

On a regional basis, the strongest gains appeared in the West, where sales increased 71.9% compared to last month, and increased 32.5% compared to December 2009. The Northeast was less fortunate: down 5.0% compared to last month, and down 50.0% compared to the same month last year.


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