WASHINGTON — New single-family home sales fell 4.7% in December, according to U.S. Commerce Dept. figures. December’s seasonally adjusted annual rate of 604,000 units was 40.7% below a year ago. Regionally, new home sales fell 6.5% in the South, 6.0% in the West and 1.2% in the Midwest, while the Northeast posted a 6.0% gain. The inventory of new homes for sale was down 2.3% to 495,000 units in December as builders continued to gradually work down their inventory.

Jerry Howard, executive vice president and CEO of the National Association of Home Builders called for governmental action to stabilize the housing market and strengthen the economy. Specific changes Howard is requesting include: raising the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac conforming loan limit for two years; allowing businesses to carry back net operating losses for five years; expanding the mortgage revenue bond program and cutting interest rates further.

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