Sales of new homes fell in December, down 7.3 percent from November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 369,000.  This is 8.8 percent higher than the December 2011 estimate of 339,000 new units.  The bad December number is tempered somewhat by a revision of the November estimate of new home sales from the 377,000 originally reported to 398,000.

The new home sales figures were released this morning by the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development which also noted that an estimated 367,000 new homes were sold in 2012 compared to 306,000 in all of 2011.  This is an increase of 19.9 percent.

The median price of new houses sold in November was $248,900 compared to $245,600 a month earlier and $218,600 in December 2011.  The average price in December was $304,000 compared to $289,900 and $262,900 in the two earlier periods.

The available inventory of new homes for sale at the end of December was 151,000 units, 43,000 of which were completed.  At the current rate of sales the larger number represents a 4.9 percent supply.  One year earlier the inventory of 152,000 represented a 5.4 month supply.

Sales were down in three of the four regions with only the Midwest posting an increase from November, up 21.3 percent.  The rate of sales in the region was however down 1.7 percent compared to December 2011.

In the Northeast sales fell 29.4 percent from November and were up 20.0 percent year-over-year.  In the South the change was -8.4 from November and +15.6 from December 2011, and in the West sales were down both month-over-month and year-over-year by 11.1 percent and 1.2 percent respectively.

New Home Sales