New Home Sales for All of 2012 See Highest Rate in 3 Years

New Home Sales for All of 2012 See Highest Rate in 3 YearsSales of new homes eased in December to finish the year, but activity for all of 2012 was at its best rate since 2009.
The Commerce Department said Friday that new-home sales declined 7.3 percent in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 369,000. That’s down from November’s 398,000 rate, which was the fastest rate in 2.5 years.
However, these month-to month figures are prone to significant revisions.
For all of 2012, sales jumped nearly 20 percent from 2011, to 367,000. That’s the most since 2009 and the first annual increase since 2005.
However, sales are still below the 700,000 level that economists consider a healthy housing market.
The housing market finally began to rebound from its bottom last year, achieving a sustained recovery in home prices as historically low mortgage rates got more people to buy homes. For the 12 months ending in November, U.S. home prices rose 5.6 percent, according to an index from the regulator over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
The Commerce Department said that the median price for a new home rose to $248,900 in December from $245,600 in November, according to figures that are not seasonally adjusted.
Sales of existing homes rose to 4.65 million last year, the most in five years. And builders finished their best year for residential construction since 2008.

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