New home sales jumped impressively in December to reach a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 481,000, an increase of 11.6% compared to November's rate of about 431,000 and 8.8% above the December 2013 rate of about 442,000, according to figures released jointly by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The median sales price of a new home sold in December was $298,100; the average sales price was $377,800.
About 219,000 new homes were for sale at the end of December – a supply of about of 5.5 months at the current sales rate.
An estimated 435,000 new homes were sold in 2014, an increase of 1.2% compared to the 2013 figure of 429,000.
In a statement, Tom Woods, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), says the increase in December ‘is in line with what our builders are telling us in surveys and on the ground – that they are seeing increased traffic and more serious buyers in the market for single-family homes.’
‘After a slow start to 2014 precipitated by bad weather conditions, new home sales have ramped up in the second half of the year,’ adds David Crowe, chief economist for NAHB. ‘We can expect this momentum to continue into 2015 with the release of pent-up demand, particularly as existing home owners are trading up.’
Regionally, new home sales rose 53.6% in the Northeast, 17.7% in the South and 3.1% in the West. The Midwest, meanwhile, saw new home sales drop 11.5%.