New home sales in January were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 321,000, a decrease of 0.9 percent from the upwardly revised December rate of 324,000.  The December pace of new home sales was originally estimated at 307,000.  Estimated sales in January were at a rate 3.5 percent higher than one year earlier when sales were running at 310,000 units.   The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development released the numbers Friday.

An estimated 22,000 new homes were sold during January.  About half (10,000 homes) were completed when sold; the remaining 12,000 were equally divided between homes under construction and homes for which construction had not yet begun.  These numbers have been virtually unchanged since November and are nearly identical to those in January 2011.  Homes that sold in January had been on the market a median of 7.1 months.

There were 151,000 homes for sale at the end of the period, 57,000 of which are standing completed.   One year ago there were 185,000 new homes on the market.  The inventory of new homes available for sale nationwide represents a 5.6 month supply compared to a 5.7 month supply in December and a 7.2 month supply in January 2011.

Sales were mixed on a regional basis with strong monthly increases of 11.1 percent and 9.3 percent in the Northeast and the South while the Midwest was down 24.5 percent and the West fell 10.6 percent.  Year-over-year changes were also varied with the Northeast down 39.4 percent compared to January 2011 and the Midwest posting a -11.9 percent change.  Sales in the South improved by 15.3 percent and in the West by 5.6 percent.

The median price of new homes sold in January was $217,100 and the average was $261,600 compared to median and average prices of $240,100 and $275,700 in January of 2011. 

New Home Sales Data