New Home Sales Surge; Median Price Up 14.9% from Year Ago

New Home Sales Surge; Median Price Up 14.9% from Year AgoSales of new single-family homes surged in November to a pace not seen in more than two years, increasing 4.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted
annual rate of 377,000 units, according to figures released today by HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau.
The median home price of a new home jumped to $246,200, a rise of 14.9 percent from the same month in 2011.
It was the highest monthly total since April 2010 when the federal home-buyer tax credit expired. At that time, sales were inflated by a temporary $8,000 tax credit for home buyers.
The inventory of new homes for sale increased slightly to 149,000 units in November, which is a 4.7-month supply at the current sales pace.
Factors that include near record-low mortgage rates, lower unemployment and a lull in foreclosures have fueled more buyers, resulting in fewer
available homes. That has helped home prices strengthen over the last several months.
“New-home sales are gradually picking up momentum as the economy improves,” said Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Gainesville, Fla. “Prospective home buyers who have been sitting on the fence for years are moving back into the market due to continuing low mortgage interest rates, attractive pricing and the improving economy,” he said.
NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe cautions, however, that a failure by lawmakers to address the “fiscal cliff” of expiring tax breaks next year could set the housing market back.
“Continued uncertainty about the fiscal cliff has the potential to affect new home sales and other aspects of the housing market,” Crowe said. “Some people will definitely hold off on making major financial decisions until the situation is resolved.”

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