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Economy in Brief

New Home Sales Up Much More Than Expected
by Tom Moeller January 26, 2007

Mild weather likely was behind a 4.8% gain in new home sales to 1.120M last month after an upwardly revised 7.4% jump during November. The latest gain by far outpaced Consensus estimates for 1.05M sales (see Haver's AS1REPNA database).

Despite the recent gains, new home sales last year fell 16.4%, the steepest decline since 1990, but for the whole year were at the fourth highest level on record.

In the Northeast sales rose 27.3% (18.3% y/y) after the 65.0% November surge but for the year were down 21.0%. In the Midwest sales rose 26.6% (-2.4% y/y) but for the whole year fell 19.1% and out West sales slipped 4.4% (-27.1% y/y) and fell 25.3% for the year. Sales in the South ticked up 0.3% (-8.9% y/y) during December and for the year were off 10.0%.

The median new home price rose 1.2% (-1.5%) to $235,000. The 3.0% gain for the full year was the weakest since 1995. Downward revisions were sharp to recent price figures

The inventory of unsold home fell for the fifth straight month.

US New Homes December November Y/Y 2006 2005 2004
Total Sales (SAAR, 000s) 1,120 1,069 -11.0% 1,070 1,280 1,201
Median Price (NSA, $) 235,000 232,200 -1.5% 241,125 234,208 217,817
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