New home sales stumble in January


Sales of new single-family homes fell 6.9% to a seasonally adjusted rate of 607,000 from the revised December 2018 rate of 652,000, according to the latest report from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The latest report is 4.1% below the January 2018 estimate of 633,000.

The seasonally‐adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of January was 336,000, representing a supply of 6.6 months at the current sales rate.

According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the latest figures are another testament toward an increased need for affordable housing.

“These numbers indicate that builders who can produce housing at affordable price points in markets across the nation will be able to meet this sales demand that is generated by healthy household formations and solid job and wage growth,” said Robert Dietz, chief economist of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

In January 2019, about 66% of new single-family home sales were priced between $200,000 and $400,000 compared to 22% percent of homes that were sold in the $400,000 to $750,000 range, the NAHB said. This compares to 51% of homes sold in the $200,000 to $400,000 range in January 2018, and 29% that were sold in the $400,000 to $750,000 price category.

The median sales price of new houses sold in January 2019 was $317,200 while the average sales price was $373,100.

The latest data also shows that new home sales posted a 2.3% percent gain for 2018 and the yearly total of 627,000 is the highest sales level since the Great Recession, according to the NAHB.

“Declines in mortgage rates brought buyers back into the market at the end of 2018 and moving into the new year,” said NAHB Chairman Greg Ugalde, a home builder and developer from Torrington, Conn. “After a challenging period last fall, builders expect a solid spring home buying season.”

Regionally, on a monthly basis, new home sales fell 11.4% in the Northeast, 28.6% in the Midwest and 15.1% in the South. Sales rose 27.8% in the West, however.



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