New home sales in the U.S. increased for the third straight month in December, the Commerce Department revealed in a report released on Thursday.
The report said new home sales surged by 2.3 percent to an annual rate of 616,000 in December after climbing by 0.7 percent to a downwardly revised rate of 602,000 in November.
Economists had expected new home sales to tumble by 3.6 percent to an annual rate of 617,000 from the 640,000 originally reported for the previous month.
The monthly increase in new home sales was partly due to strength in the Midwest, where new home sales soared by 35.2 percent to an annual rate of 73,000.
New home sales in the South also spiked by 6.5 percent to a rate of 392,000, while new home sales in the West plunged by 15.3 percent to a rate of 122,000 and new home sales in the Northeast plummeted by 19.4 percent to a rate of 29,000.
Despite another monthly increase, new home sales in December were down by 26.6 percent compared to a rate of 839,000 a year ago.
The Commerce Department also said an estimated 644,000 new homes were sold in 2022, down 16.4 percent from 771,000 in 2021.
The report also said the median sales price of new houses sold in December was $442,100, down 3.7 percent from $459,000 in November but up 7.8 percent from $410,000 a year ago.
The estimate of new houses for sale at the end of December was 461,000, which represents 9.0 months of supply at the current sales rate.
Last Friday, the National Association of Realtors released a report showing a continued decline in U.S. existing home sales in the month of December, although the decrease was much smaller than economists had expected.
NAR said existing home sales slumped by 1.5 percent to an annual rate of 4.02 million in December after plunging by 7.9 percent to a revised rate of 4.08 million in November.
Economists had expected existing home sales to tumble by 3.4 percent to an annual rate of 3.95 million from the 4.09 million originally reported for the previous month.
Existing home sales retreated for the eleventh consecutive month and are down by 34.0 percent compared to the same month a year ago.
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