New Home Sales Climbed 17% in December, but Fell 14% in 2010

The Commerce Department adds to yesterday’s Case-Shiller Home Price data with a new home sales update. Here’s your Cheat Sheet:

Sales: Sales of new single-family houses in December 2010 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 329,000.

Month-over-Month Change: This is 17.5% (±17.7%) above the revised November rate of 280,000.

Year-over-Year Change: This is 7.6% (±17.0%) below the December 2009 estimate of 356,000.

Prices: The median sales price of new houses sold in December 2010 was $241,500; the average sales price was $291,400. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of December was $190,000.

Inventory: This represents a supply of 6.9 months at the current sales rate, down from 8.4 months.

2010 versus 2009: An estimated 321,000 new homes were sold in 2010. This is 14.2% (±4.2%) below the 2009 figure of 375,000.

Commentary: The extended tax credit and a race to lock in low rates may have helped December sales.

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