2016 New Home Sales Up 12% Despite Weak December

Sales of newly built, single-family homes fell 10 percent on a monthly basis in December to a weak 536,000 seasonally adjusted annual rate, according to estimates from the Census Bureau and HUD.

This was a surprisingly low reading for the series. NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz’s expectation is that it will be revised higher in the next report. While higher interest rates may have caused a reduction in contract signings (the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose from 3.76 percent at the end of October to 4.01 percent at the end of December, according to Freddie Mac data), the geographic distribution of the sales data do not fully match this explanation.

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This article is from the NAHB’s Eye on Housing blog.