Sales of new single-family houses in December 2014 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 481,000, according to estimates released jointly last week by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 11.6 percent above the revised November rate of 431,000 and is 8.8 percent above the December 2013 estimate of 442,000.
The median sales price of new houses sold in December 2014 was $298,100; the average sales price was $377,800. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of December was 219,000. This represents a supply of 5.5 months at the current sales rate.
An estimated 435,000 new homes were sold in 2014. This is 1.2 percent above the 2013 figure of 429,000.
"This uptick is in line with what our builders are telling us in surveys and on the ground -- that they are seeing increased traffic and more serious buyers in the market for single-family homes," said Tom Woods, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Blue Springs, Mo.
"After a slow start to 2014 precipitated by bad weather conditions, new home sales have ramped up in the second half of the year," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "We can expect this momentum to continue into 2015 with the release of pent-up demand, particularly as existing home owners are trading up."
The inventory of new homes for sale rose to 219,000 in December, which is a 5.5-month supply at the current sales pace.
Regionally, new home sales rose 53.6 percent in the Northeast, 17.7 percent in the South and 3.1 percent in the West. Sales dropped 11.5 percent in the Midwest.