February 26, 2014

New-home sales up in January

Feb. 27, 2014 – New-home sales grew 9.6 percent in January, largely from pent-up demand after December's harsh weather, NAFCU Research Assistant Doug Christman said Wednesday.

"Tight inventories continued to put upward pressure on new home prices and constrained overall activity, but pent-up demand drove the positive monthly sales data," Christman said in a NAFCU Macro Data Flash report.

January data from the Census Bureau showed 468,000 annualized units sold in January, up from 427,000 in December. That's a 2.2 percent increase, year over year.

Three of the four regions showed sales increase for January. Monthly sales in the Northeast region rose 73.7 percent, followed by the West (11 percent) and the South (10.4 percent). Sales in the Midwest fell by 17.2 percent. "Sales levels returned to normal in the Northeast after severe weather held back regional sales in December," Christman said.

Months of available inventory were 4.7 months of supply in January, down from a revised 5.2 months of supply in December. The number of unsold homes left on the market increased to 184,000 units. The number of unsold homes is up 23.5 percent on a year-ago basis.

Christman said January generated "the largest sales volume in the last five and a half years." He said housing is likely to keep supporting the broader economic recovery throughout 2014.