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Seasonal factors lift new home sales considerably

Sales of new single-family homes picked up considerably in January at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 437,000 sales, 15.6% above the revised December rate of 378,000 units.

The latest number topped market expectations for 381,000 sales, according to analysts at Econoday. Typically, large seasonal factors can boost home sales numbers during winter months.

January sales are 28.9% above the January 2012 estimate of 339,000 units, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The median sales price of new homes sold in January dropped unexpectedly from $248,900 in December to $226,400. The average January sales price was $286,300, down from $304,000 in December.

At the end of January, the number of new homes for sale only reached 150,000 sales, down from December’s 151,000 units. This represents a 4.1-month supply of homes at today's sale pace, down from 4.9 months last month.

"Overall, home sales are trending up slowly. Low mortgage rates are a positive as well as a stabilized jobs market. The remaining constraints are tight credit conditions and modest employment growth," said analysts at Econoday said.

mhopkins@housingwire.com

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