New Home Sales Cool Slightly in January
New-home sales dipped slightly in January following the torrid levels of buying activity in the final quarter of last year, but still outpaced last year’s record-setting total sales.
New single-family homes were sold at an annual rate of 1.106 million units, the Commerce Department reported last week, down 1.7% from December’s upwardly-revised rate of 1.125 million units, but 9.6 percent above the rate reported a year earlier.
“Builders across the country are still very upbeat about the single-family housing market,” said NAHB President Bobby Rayburn. “Harsh weather may have affected sales in some regions of the country, but with low mortgage rates and strong house price performance continuing to fuel demand, there was hardly a dent in the totals.”
“Some cooling from the world-class pace of the fourth quarter was expected, but sales are still well above the overall pace of 2003,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Seiders. “We are projecting a 3% decline in new home sales for the year as a whole, based primarily on anticipated upward movements in mortgage rates as the year progresses. However, if interest rates remain at or near current levels throughout the year, new home sales could equal or even surpass the 2003 record.”