New home sales were at an annual rate of about 544,000 in December – an increase of 10.8% compared with about 491,000 in November and an increase of 9.9% compared with about 495,000 in December 2014, according to estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
It was the third consecutive month that new home sales increased, having jumped 10.7% in October and 4.3% in November.
The median sales price of a new home sold in December was $288,900; the average sales price was $346,400.
As of the end of December, there were about 237,000 new homes for sale – about a 5.2-month supply at the current sales rate.
An estimated 501,000 new homes were sold in 2015 – an increase of 14.5% compared with about 437,000 in 2014.
“The December sales report is a great end to a very strong year,” says Ed Brady, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), in a statement. “As we move forward in 2016, we should see the housing market continue to make lasting gains.”
“Relatively low interest rates and an improving economy are motivating buyers to make a new home purchase,” adds David Crowe, chief economist for NAHB. “Builders are upping their inventory in response to heightened consumer interest. Housing inventory is now at its highest level since October 2009.”
Sales increased in all four regions in December. The Midwest, West, Northeast and South posted gains of 31.6%, 21.0%, 20.8% and 0.4%, respectively.