“The sales pace was strong throughout the fourth quarter, and while we anticipate a slight decline in 2004, it is predicated on a projected rise of mortgage rates as the year progresses, to 6.5% by year’s end,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Seiders. “However, interest rates are currently lower than had been expected, and the rates are not projected to move up in the near future. Consumer confidence in housing is still strong, and housing continues to be an important contributor to our nation’s economy.”
Sales for last year totaled 189,000 in the Midwest, 306,000 in the West and 512,000 in the South — all records for those regions. While the Northeast’s 79,000 sales fell short of an all-time high, they represented a 21.5% increase over 2002.
In December, the sales pace was down 8.1% in the South and 11.2% in the West, and it was up 8.7% in the Midwest and 12.2% in the Northeast.
The inventory of new homes for sale was 374,000 at the end of 2003, a 4.3 months’ supply at the December sales pace.
“The inventory situation still is healthy despite moderate increases during the final months of 2003,” Seiders said. “Most of the recent increase has been for units still under construction, and the length of time that completed units are on the market actually has been declining to a median 3.7 months in December.”
Don’t Miss NAHB’s Spring Construction Forecast Conference
See what's on the horizon for the housing industry at the semi-annual gathering of the country's premier economists and finance experts. Get the latest forecasts on housing starts, project budgets and other economic bellwethers at the Spring Construction Forecast Conference on April 21 at the National Housing Center in Washington, D.C. Visit the Web site for more information.
[ Go to Top ]