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New home sales spike in January

February 26, 2013|By Alejandro Lazo
  • Workers build a home in Rancho Santa Fe.
Workers build a home in Rancho Santa Fe. (Sam Hodgson / Bloomberg )

Sales of newly built homes spiked nearly 16% in January, another indication of strong momentum in housing.

The Commerce Department said sales of newly built, single-family houses rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 437,000 units built last month. That was 15.6% above the prior month and 28.9% above the same month the year before.

New home sales statistics can be volatile but the market for newly built homes has climbed over the last year after hitting a historic low in 2011. Demand for newly built homes has gained as the market for previously owned houses has grown competitive among investors and cash buyers.

Lending requirements for would-be buyers remain strict and supply limited. The Commerce Department estimated that the number of new homes available for sale at the end of last month was 150,000. That represents a supply of just over four months.

The median price for newly built houses in January was $226,400.

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