Buyers seem to have ignored the unusually stormy weather that affected a lot of the country in January, trooping through snow and ice to boost new home sales.  The Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development said today that those sales rose significantly in January after slipping for three straight months. 

Sales nationwide were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 468,000, an increase of 9.6 percent from December's pace of 427,000 units.  Further, the December figure was a substantial upward revision of the 414,000 units originally reported.  January sales were 2.2 percent higher than in the same month in 2013, 458,000.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis there were an estimated 34,000 homes sold during the month, leaving an unsold inventory of 184,000, the same number as in December.  Because of the quickened sales pace in January the inventory is estimated at a 4.7 month supply compared to a 5.2 month supply in December.

The improvement in sales was driven almost entirely by activity in the Northeast where new homes sold at the rate of 33,000 units, up 73.7 percent from December and 3.1 percent above sales in January 2013.  In the Midwest sales were down 17.2 percent to 48,000, 14.3 percent lower than the previous year.  Sales in the South rose 10.4 percent from December and 22.7 percent from a year earlier to 276,000 units.  Sales in the West were at an annual rate of 111,000, up 8.0 percent for the month but were 23.4 percent below those in January 2013.

New Home Sales