Sales of new single-family houses in January 2015 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 481,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
This is 0.2% below the revised December rate of 482,000, but is 5.3% above the January 2014 estimate of 457,000, considered a weak level.
The Wednesday report piles onto a series of bad news for the housing industry.
The year is off to a bad start for housing in terms of housing starts, completions and permits. Existing home sales tumbled in January, and mortgage applications have been spiraling downward in February, giving away most of the gains made in January.
The earliest home price report from Black Knight Financial Services pointed to home price declines in December.
But not everyone is convinced that these early 2015 reports means housing is faltering.
This bad news comes a month after new home sales surged 11.6% in December to a 481,000 annual rate. This followed a 6.7% drop in November.
The median sales price of new houses sold in January 2015 was $294,300; the average sales price was $348,300.
The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of January was 218,000. This represents a supply of 5.4 months at the current sales rate.