New home sales were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 481,000 units in January, a drop of 0.2% compared to the revised December rate of 482,000 units, but 5.3% above the January 2014 estimate of 457,000 units, according to estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The median sales price of a new home sold in January was $294,300. The average sales price was $348,300.
‘The fact that January sales numbers maintained the gains we made in December is encouraging news, especially considering harsh weather affecting certain parts of the country,’ says Tom Woods, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), in a statement.
‘In a promising sign, new home sales have been trending at post-recession highs for the past two months,’ adds David Crowe, chief economist for the NAHB. ‘As the economy strengthens and mortgage rates remain low, we can expect continued upward movement in the housing market this year.’
Inventory in January was about 218,000 new homes, about a 5.4-month supply at the current sales pace.
Regionally, new home sales increased 19.2% in the Midwest and 2.2% in the South. New homes sales fell 0.8% in the West and a whopping 51.6% in the Northeast, most likely due to harsh winter conditions.
Earlier this week the National Association of Realtors reported that existing-home sales plummeted 4.9% in January to reach a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.82 million – the lowest rate in nine months. That compares to an upwardly revised annual rate of about 5.07 million sales in December.
Although new home sales fell in January, recent data from the Mortgage Bankers Association indicates that new home sales may rise again in February.
The MBA's Builder Application Survey (BAS) shows mortgage applications for new home purchases increased 29% in January on an unadjusted basis compared to December. Should a high percentage of those applications result in sales, then volumes could increase over the next two months.