Sales of newly built, single-family homes dropped 0.2 percent in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 481,000 units from higher numbers in December, according to newly released data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau.

“The fact that January sales numbers maintained the gains we made in December is encouraging news, especially considering harsh weather affecting certain parts of the country,” says Tom Woods, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Blue Springs, Mo.

“In a promising sign, new home sales have been trending at post-recession highs for the past two months,” says NAHB chief economist David Crowe. “As the economy strengthens and mortgage rates remain low, we can expect continued upward movement in the housing market this year.”

The inventory of new homes for sale was at 218,000 in January, which is a 5.4-month supply at the current sales pace.

Regionally, new-home sales rose 19.2 percent in the Midwest and 2.2 percent in the South. Sales dropped 0.8 percent in the West and 51.6 percent in the Northeast, most likely due to adverse weather conditions in that area.


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