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New-home sales increase 4.4% in November

December 27, 2012|By Alejandro Lazo
  • New-home sales increase 4.4% in November
New-home sales increase 4.4% in November (Chris O'Meara / Associated…)

Sales of newly constructed homes rose 4.4% in November from the month before, providing fresh evidence that the country's housing sector is in recovery.

Newly built single-family homes sold at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 377,000 units in November, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. That was a 15.3% rise over November 2011.

The increase indicates a continuation of the housing recovery that began earlier this year. Housing has become a leading source of strength for the long-sluggish American economic recovery as more people compete to buy fewer homes – pushing up prices.

Earlier this week the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index of 20 large cities showed prices were down 0.1% in October from September as the traditionally slow buying season kicks in. But the index indicates that prices were up 4.3% compared with October 2011.

Low inventory has helped make housing competitive this year. The estimated number of new homes available for sale at the end of November was 149,000, a supply that would last just under five months at the current sales rate, the Commerce Department said Thursday.

Record-low mortgage rates have helped lure buyers this year. And cash-rich investors have poured into the market, looking to turn a profit on residential real estate.

At the same time, the number of foreclosures has declined, tightening the supply of cheap homes. And in some markets move-up buyers, those with equity in their homes looking to buy bigger abodes, have returned.

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