WASHINGTON - Sales of newly built, single-family homes declined 2.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 464,000 units in November. Sales had previously been at a strong pace of 474,000 units in the previous month, according to data released today by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau.

With the exception of October 2013, the current pace is the strongest sales have been since July of 2008.

"This figure is consistent with NAHB's member surveys, which show increasing confidence in the market," said Rick Judson, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders and a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. "Meanwhile, the very low supply of new homes on the market and tight credit conditions for home buyers show that builders are still cautious about getting ahead of themselves."

Regionally, new-home sales were mixed in November. Both the West and the Northeast showed improvement, with respective increases of 31.1 percent and 15.2 percent. New-home sales in the Midwest dropped by 26.6 percent and the South posted a 9.1 percent decline.

The inventory of new homes for sale declined to 167,000 units in November, which is a 4.3-month supply at the current sales pace.

"The previous three months for new-home sales have all been revised up, and the final quarter of 2013 is shaping up to be the best quarter since the second quarter of 2008," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "Historically low interest rates, affordable home prices and a healing economy are bringing buyers back into the marketplace."

 

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