Sales of new homes dive to historical low
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In December, less than 331,000 new houses were sold across the US meaning a 14.7% monthly slip that caps a year that counted a 37.8 percent drop. It is the lowest number recorded since statistics became available to measure house sales in 1963.
AFP - US new home sales slid 14.7 percent in December to the lowest monthly level on record, capping a year that showed a 37.8 percent drop, the government said Thursday.
The Commerce Department said December sales of new one-family houses fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 331,000, the lowest since data collection began in 1963.
That was 14.7 percent below the revised November figure and 44.8 percent below the December 2007 estimate.
An estimated 482,000 new homes were sold in 2008, 37.8 percent below the 2007 figure of 776,000, the agency said, highlighting the meltdown in real estate after years of sizzling growth.
The median home sales price fell 6.0 percent in the month to 206,500 dollars, the weakest since December 2003.
The only positive news was a drop in the glut of new homes for sale. The inventory of homes fell 10.1 percent to 357,000, the lowest since September 2003.
In light of weak demand, this still represents a 12.9 percent supply at the current sales pace, the highest since 1963.
The latest data underscores the massive decline in the US housing market following a bubble that began to burst more than two years ago.
Another report earlier this week showed prices falling for 28 consecutive months in the 20 major US cities. Prices in that survey showed a 25 percent drop from the 2006 peak but no sign of stabilizing.
The housing meltdown has led to massive losses in the worldwide financial sector that bet heavily on the sector, sparking a credit crunch that has roiled the global economy.
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