According to newly released data by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau, sales among new homes rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 657,000 units in November—setting their highest pace since March 2018. This data documents newly built, single family-homes at any stage of construction. In addition to adjusting for seasonal effects, the November reading refers to the number of homes that would sell if the established pace continues for the 12 months ahead.

With sales of new homes jumping to 100 percent in the Northeast, 30.5 percent in the Midwest and 20.6 percent in the South, along with just a 5.9 percent decrease in the West, on a regional and monthly basis new homes show signs of being in higher demand.

“The sales increase was fueled by a notable uptick in homes sold at the affordable end of the market,” says Randy Noel, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). “There is clearly a demand for new home homes even as builders continue to grapple with supply-side challenges, including shortages of lots and labor and higher building material costs stemming from tariffs.”

The evident pickup has also been detected in starts among single-family markets designed around buyers 55 years of age or older. According to the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) 55+ Housing Market Index (HMI), the fourth quarter of 2018 finished strong with a reading of 66, a six point increase from the previous quarter.

“Overall, builders and developers in the 55+ housing market are reporting strong demand across the country,” says Chuck Ellison, chairman of NAHB’s 55+Housing Industry Council and vice president of Land of Miller and Smith in McLean, Va. “However, builders need to continue to manage rising construction costs to keep homes in 55-plus communities at affordable price points.”

Both areas of housing seem to be benefiting from a recent decline in mortgage rates.

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