New-home sales up in November

Jan. 3, 2013 – New-home sales reached their highest in two years in November but remained too low to be considered a sign of a healthy housing market, NAFCU economists said Wednesday.

According to the Census Bureau, new-home sales rose 4.4 percent in November to 377,000 units, annualized, up from October’s revised 361,000 units, annualized. Sales were up 15.3 percent year over year.

“The recent improvements are attributable to record low mortgage rates, an improving labor market and pent-up demand,” said NAFCU Research Assistant Doug Christman. “Although housing starts had a slight decline in November, this followed several months of gains, indicating a continuing recovery in the housing market.”

Two of the four regions showed increases for the month, though three had increases from one year ago. The data showed a decline in the months of available inventory but a rise in the number of unsold homes left on the market. The median new-home price, non-seasonally adjusted, rose to $246,200, up from $237,500 in October and from $214,300 a year ago.

Christman said that while there are several positive signs that the housing market is recovering, sales are still significantly below the level that analysts consider to be indicative of a healthy market.

For more, see the NAFCU Macro Data Flash report (login required).