New-Home Sales Post Biggest Gains in Months

New-home sales for single-family homes rose 1.3 percent in October, marking the best pace for new-home sales activity since this May, the U.S. Commerce Department reports.

Following the sector’s worst year for new-home activity on record last year, several recent reports are suggesting a pick-up in new construction.

“Builders have been seeing some marginal improvement in sales activity over the past few months, particularly in select markets where consumer confidence is higher due to improved economic conditions,” Bob Nielsen, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders, said in a statement. “While this trend is encouraging, overall sales activity is still well below normal due to the effects of overly tight credit conditions for builders and buyers, the continued flow of distressed properties on the market, and inaccurate appraisal values on new homes.”

Despite the October gain in sales, new-home sales for the month were at an annual rate of 307,000–still less than half the 700,000 in sales that most economists consider healthy for the housing market.

A Regional Look
A break down of sales by region in October:

•Midwest: Rose 22.2 percent
•West: Rose 14.9 percent
•Northeast: Stayed flat
•South: Declined 9.5 percent
Inventory Drops Drastically
Nationwide, the inventory of new homes for sale stayed at an all-time record low of 162,000 units in October.

“Particularly encouraging is the fact that builders continue to hold down their inventories to match the current sales rate, with the number of new homes for sale now down to a sustainable, 6.3-month supply,” NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe said in a statement.

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine Daily News

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