December New Home Sales Up Nearly 11 Percent
Jump of 14.5 Percent in 2015, Versus 2014
New home sales rose 10.8 percent to 544,000 units in December, compared to November, and were nearly 10 percent higher than the same month in 2014, the U.S. Census Bureau reports.
A total of 491,000 new homes were sold in November, and December's result is an increase of 9.9 percent over the December 2014 pave of 495,000 units.
The median sales price of new houses sold in December was $288,900, and the average sales price was $346,400.
About 501,000 new homes were sold in all of 2015, and this is 14.5 percent above the 2014 rate of 437,000 units.
In month-over-month data, sales across the nation were 10.8 higher. But the Midwest region recorded a gain of 31.6 percent, and sales in the West expanded by 21.0 percent.
In year-over-year data, sales nationally increased 9.9 percent. But sales in the Midwest jumped 38.9 percent, and the West grew by 21.9 percent.
U.S. Census Bureau:
Solid Gains in New Building Starts
New construction starts, including residential projects, rose 4 percent in December to nearly $592 billion, Dodge Data and Analytics said.
December's gain follows a 5 percent decline in November, and is also an 8 percent jump compared to the same month in 2014.
For the 2015 calendar year, total construction starts climbed 8 percent to $645.5 billion, compared to the same 12-month period in 2014.
The Dodge Index for December was 125, up five points from November. For all of 2015, the Dodge Index averaged 137.
Residential building in December increased 6 percent to $278.1 billion. Multifamily housing finished the year on a strong note, rebounding 22 percent after slipping 5 percent in November. Single-family housing remained unchanged on a month-over-month basis.
Nonresidential building in December grew 3 percent to $178.5 billion. The commercial building group provided most of the December lift to nonresidential, rising 9 percent from the previous month. Office construction increased 6 percent. Store construction climbed 17 percent in December. On the downside, hotel construction fell 17 percent, and manufacturing dropped 16 percent.
The institutional side of the nonresidential category held steady in December. Amusement-related work soared 87 percent. Transportation terminal work jumped 48 percent, religious buildings were up 13 percent, and healthcare facilities climbed 11 percent. However, educational facilities fell 19 percent.
Non-building construction in December rose 3 percent to $135.0 billion. The gain was due to a 108 percent jump in the electric utility and gas plant category.
New Home Sales Highest in Eight Years
Sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 14.5 percent to 501,000 units in 2015, the highest level since 2007, according to the National Association of Home Builders.
December sale alone increased 10.8 percent, giving a strong year-end boost to 2015.
"The December sales report is a great end to a very strong year," said Ed Brady, chairman of the NAHB. "As we move forward in 2016, we should see the housing market continue to make lasting gains."
"Relatively low interest rates and an improving economy are motivating buyers to make a new-home purchase," said David Crowe, chief economist for the NAHB. "Builders are upping their inventory in response to heightened consumer interest. Housing inventory is now at its highest level since October 2009."
The inventory of new homes for sale was 237,000 units in December. This is a 5.2-month supply at the current sales pace.