Sales of newly constructed single-family homes dipped only slightly in January from December levels.  The U.S. Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Developing said today that January sales were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 481,000.  That rate was 0.2 percent below the slightly revised December estimate of 482,000 units.  The original December number, also 481,000, had represented an 11.6 percent surge from November.

January's rate of new home sales was 5.3 percent above those in the same month in 2014 which were estimated at 457,000 units.  On a non-seasonally adjusted basis there were an estimated 36,000 new homes sold in January compared to 34,000 in December and 33,000 a year earlier.  

The report estimates that at the end of January there were 218,000 new homes for sale nationwide, an approximate 5.4 month supply at the current rate of sales.  The inventory was 3,000 units larger than a month earlier but the absorption rate was unchanged. Of the homes currently available for sale, 116,000 are under construction and construction has not yet started on 40,000.

The median price of a home sold in January was $294,300 compared to $269,800 in January 2014.  The average price in the recent period was $348,300, up from $337,300 a year earlier.  Thirty percent of homes sold were in the $200-299,000 price range and 18 percent were sold for $300-$399,000.   Homes sold during the month were on the market a median of 3.3 months.

Sales in the Northeast, which was hit with a series of severe snowstorms throughout the month, were down 51.6 percent from December and 50.0 percent from January 2014.  In the Midwest sales increased by 19.2 percent month-over-month and 21.6 percent from a year earlier. 

The South saw an increase in sales from the prior month of 2.2 percent and an increase of 8.6 percent year-over-year.  Sales for the month dipped in the West 0.8 percent but remained 5.0 percent above the pace a year earlier.