Sales of new U.S. homes hit 5-month low, Commerce Dept. says

Jan. 27 (UPI) — Sales of new homes in the United States last month fell short of expectations and marked a five-month low, government figures showed Monday.

The Commerce Department said sales of new single-family home fell 0.4 percent from November to a rate of 694,000 in December — the weakest month since July, the data showed. The rate of new home sales in November was also revised down more than 20,000 units to a rate of 697,000.

The department said the median sales price rose 0.5 percent in December to $331,400.

Despite December’s sluggish figures, officials say 681,000 new homes were sold in 2019 — an increase of more than 10 percent year-to-year and the highest mark since 2007.

Low unemployment and interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve last year made mortgage rates more affordable, Monday’s report said.

Since 2011, the number of new homes sold each year has trended up but remained well below the 1.28 million peak set in 2005.