New-Home Sales Plunge As Market Still Seeks Bottom
By: Reuters | 29 Jan 2009 | 10:06 AM ET
Sales of newly built U.S. single-family homes fell 14.7 percent in December, the largest monthly decline since 1994, data showed on Thursday, indicating the housing market's downward spiral was far from reaching a bottom.
The Commerce Department said sales tumbled to a 331,000 annual pace, the lowest since it started keeping records in 1963.
November's sales were sharply revised down to 388,000 annual rate, which was previously reported as 407,000.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast sales would post a 400,000 rate in December.
For 2008, sales totaled 482,000, the lowest since 1982. That represented a 37.9 percent drop on the prior year, also a record fall.
The median sales price in December fell 9.3 percent to $206,500 from a year earlier.
The median marks the half-way point, with half of all houses sold above that level and half below. The inventory of homes available for sale was at 357,000.
The December sales pace put the supply of homes available for sale at 12.9 month's worth was a record high.