Sales of new single-family homes fell 2.2 percent in December, topping off 2011 as the worst year on record based on existing U.S. housing data since 1963.
The Commerce Department said that 302,000 new homes were sold in 2011, 6.2 percent below the 323,000 new homes sold in 2010.
Today’s report from the Commerce Department dampened other recent data that signaled positive trends for housing. Even the 30-year fixed mortgage rate jumped to 3.98 percent this week primarily because activity had picked up this month, said Freddie Mac.
On a seasonally adjusted annual rate basis, the number of new homes sold in December was 307,000, a decline of 2.2 percent from the previous month and 7.3 percent below the number sold in December a year ago.
The median sales price of new homes sold in December was $210,300, while the average sales price was $266,000. And based on government estimates, there is a supply of 6.1 months worth of homes for sale.
Before today’s Commerce Department report, there was a string of positive reports:
- New construction of one-family homes rose 4.4 percent in December to an annualized rate of 470,000, the most since April 2010;
- Existing home sales increased 5.0 percent at the end of the year to 4.61 million houses, the largest amount since May 2010;
- Pending home sales in November and December averaged the highest reading since the March and April 2010 period.