Report: U.S. New-Home Sales Drop

Sharon Nunn reported yesterday at The Wall Street Journal Online that, “Two months of steep declines in sales of new homes across the U.S. haven’t persuaded many economists that the housing market is turning lower.

“Purchases of newly built single-family homes—a relatively narrow slice of all U.S. home sales—fell 7.8% in January after dropping 7.6% in December, according to data released Monday by the Commerce Department. Purchases have declined for four of the past six months.

“The January drop bucked the 4.0% growth economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected. Analysts are pointing to weather and the volatile nature of the new-home sales data to explain away what could be seen as an emerging downtrend in the housing market.”

The Journal article noted that, “Mortgage rates have moved higher rapidly since the beginning of 2018, making purchasing a home more expensive. Moreover, housing inventory has been tight, driving up home prices and pricing some potential buyers out of the market. In January, sales of previously owned homes, which represent the bulk of the U.S. market, experienced their sharpest year-over-year drop in more than three years.”

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