New Single-Family Home Sales Hit Stride in December

New single-family home sales ended 2018 with an unforeseen upswing, showing a 1.5% gain year-over-year (YOY) after November's dwindling findings. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau released its December data on March 5 due to the government shutdown earlier this year.

In a report, National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Chief Economist Robert Dietz described the December increase as "a small gain," as affordability continues to plague the housing market. However, Dietz predicts lower mortgage rates are on the horizon and will further benefit new home sales.

"The slight gain for 2018 new home sales reflects solid underlying demand for homeownership," added NAHB Chairman Greg Ugalde in the report. "Housing affordability remains a challenge across the country, but conditions have improved in early 2019, as illustrated by the recent uptick in builder confidence."

According to the data, the average sales price was $318,600 in December, an improvement over the prior year's $343,300. The number of homes available reached 344,000 at the end of 2018, up 50,000 YOY.

—Andrew Michaels, editorial associate

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