WASHINGTON — After five consecutive months of increases, sales of newly built, single-family homes fell 3.6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 402,000 units in September, according to data released by the U.S. Commerce Department on Oct. 28.

“This critical loss of momentum corresponds with the ending of the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit, since for the most part, September was too late to sign a deal that could be completed by the time the credit expires at the end of November,” said Joe Robson, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a homebuilder from Tulsa, OK. “The fact that sales are now heading downward just shows how important the tax credit has been for stimulating buyer demand up to this point, and how essential it is for Congress to move quickly on legislation that would extend the credit’s expiration date and expand its eligibility to more buyers. Doing so would keep the housing market on the road to recovery while stimulating much-needed job growth across the economy.”

Robson noted that extending the tax credit’s effective date for one year and expanding it to include all homebuyers would generate nearly 350,000 jobs, $28.2 billion in wages, salaries and business income, and $11.6 billion in additional tax revenues.

The inventory of new homes on the market continued downward for a 29th consecutive month, to 251,000 units in September. This is the lowest inventory since November 1982. However, the slower pace of sales kept the months’ supply unchanged, at 7.5.

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