U.S. housing recovery back in full swing as new home sales climb

Nathan Andrada – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Washington, DC, United States (4E) – After slowing down over the summer, U.S. home buyers are back in the market as 2013 draws to a close, a signal that the housing recovery was gaining traction despite rising mortgage rates.

Sales of newly built homes fell 2.1 percent in November, but totals for previous months were revised up significantly and the data easily topped economists’ estimates, according to Census Bureau data released Tuesday.

Home purchases continue to rise as builders address pent-up demand driven by better employment situation and strong gains in stocks. Building permit applications stood at a near five-year high in October, a sign that the rebound in new-home construction will continue through the beginning of 2014.

Sales were also revised by a total of 58,000 for the months of August and September. Economists had predicted an annual rate of 440,000 of new homes were sold in November.

Estimates of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News ranged from 390,000 to 475,000. Sales in October were originally estimated at a rate of 444,000. The housing market is currently on target to meet 435,100 in new home sales this year, the most since 2008, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The higher new-home sales in November pushed inventories to a seasonally adjusted level of 167,000, representing 4.3-month supply, a decline from the 4.5 months in October and 5.4 months in September. The median sales price increased to $270,900 in November from $259,200 in October.

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