Steel Markets

2019 Best Year for New Home Sales Since Recession

Written by Sandy Williams

New home sales were essentially flat in December, edging down 0.4 percent from November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 694,000, according the latest data by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Compared to December 2018, sales increased 23.0 percent.

Sales for the full year, however, rose 10 percent to an estimated 681,000 units, making it the best year for new home sales since the Great Recession, said National Association of Home Builders Chief Economist Robert Dietz.

“The acceleration of new home sales during the second half of 2019 returns the new home sales pace to the general trend line it has been on since the end of the Great Recession,” said Dietz. “This general rising trend for new home sales, after the housing affordability crunch of 2018, suggests additional construction gains in 2020. Sales are being supported by ongoing low interest rates and historically low unemployment.”

The median price of a new home sold in December was $331,400 and the average price $384,000. Inventory at the end of December was estimated at 327,000, a supply of 5.7 months at the current sales rate.

For full-year 2019, new home sales were up 14 percent in the South and 15 percent in the West (led by the Mountain states). Sales fell 7 percent in the Midwest and 9 percent in the Northeast.

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