US new home sales slump in January

US new home sales slump in January

Sales of single-family houses fell 7.8 per cent from December to an annual rate of 593,000, seasonally-adjusted, the lowest level in five months and well short of analyst expectations. (Photo: AFP/Frederic J Brown)
WASHINGTON: New US home sales slowed for the second straight month in January, due to cold weather in the Northeast and slowing reconstruction in the storm-damaged South, the Commerce Department reported on Monday (Feb 26).The slowing pace of sales allowed inventories to rise and prices to cool, offering some relief for would-be homeowners in what has otherwise been a very tight market.Sales of single-family houses fell 7.8 per cent from December to an annual rate of 593,000, seasonally-adjusted, the lowest level in five months and well short of analyst expectations.This put the first month of the year a full percentage point below January 2017. However, the figures are volatile and subject to significant revision and were well with broad margins of error.A decade of economic recovery, with steady job creation and rising wages, has produced strong demand for housing that has pushed prices higher. And analysts say the sluggish pace of construction has failed to produce enough houses to feed the hungry market.With the successive monthly sales declines, the inventory of homes for sale rose to its highest level in nine years, gaining 2.4 per cent to reach 301,000.
At the current sales pace, that represents 6.1 months' supply, a 10.9 per cent increase and the highest level since mid-2014.The median sales price fell 4.1 per cent to US$323,000 while the average price sank three percent to US$382,000, suggesting prices were remaining higher for more expensive houses.Sales were flat in the West but jumped 15.4 per cent in the Midwest, while they plunged 33.3 per cent in the Northeast and lost 14.2 per cent in the South.
Source: AFP/de
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