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Economy in Brief

December U.S. New Home Sales Lowest Since 1963
by Tom Moeller January 29, 2009

Last month, sales of new single-family homes fell to their lowest level in the series' history which dates back to 1963. The 14.7% m/m December decline to 331,000 followed a downwardly revised November. December-to-December, new home sales were off by half and down by three-quarters from their peak during July 2005. They fell short of Consensus expectations for 400,000.

December-to-December sales fell hard around the country, down by one-third to one-half.

The median price for a new single-family home continued to fall hard to $206,500 as homebuilders attempted to move inventory. In fact, that effort has been quite successful and the inventory of unsold homes is down by more than one-quarter during the last year to its lowest level since 2003. In each of the country's regions, the inventory is down by roughly one-quarter during the last year.

The month's supply of new homes for sale surged to 12.9, a record.

New Adjustable-Rate Mortgages and the Libor Surprise From the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland can be found here.

US New Homes December November Y/Y (%) 2008 2007 2006
Total Sales (SAAR, 000s) 331 388 -44.8 479 768 1,049
  Northeast 28 39  -50.0 35 64 64
  Midwest 51 54 -31.1 69 118 161
  South 181 206 -46.0 264 408 559
  West 71 89 -47.4 111 178 266
Median Price (NSA, $) 206,500 219,700 -9.3 228,350 243,742 243,067
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