Saturday, December 29, 2007

Sales Of New Houses Plummet

Sales Of New Houses Plummet: "Sales Of New Houses Plummet
Rate Is Lowest In a Dozen Years

By Allan Lengel
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, December 29, 2007; D01

New-home sales in November fell 9 percent from the previous month and were down 34 percent from a year earlier, more dismal figures for an industry facing bloated inventory, declining prices and mortgage woes.

'Things remain pretty weak,' said Keith Gumbinger, vice president of HSH Associates, a financial publishing group in New Jersey. 'We are still stumbling along in a rough patch. Inventory has to be cleared out.'

The Commerce Department reported yesterday that sales of new single-family houses declined to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 647,000 in November, compared with 711,000 in October and 987,000 in November 2006. It was the lowest sales rate since April 1995.

The median price of new houses in November was $239,100, up from $229,500 the month before but down from $240,100 a year earlier.

The Commerce Department reported a 9.3-month inventory of unsold new homes in November, up from 8.5 months in October. A six-month inventory is considered a desirable goal.

Industry experts gave little weight to the bump in the median price, saying the figure may not accurately reflect the ongoing price decline."

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