New home sales rise in December after sharp November drop

SILVER SPRING, Md. — Sales of new homes rose 1.6% in December after a big decline in November that was even worse than previously thought.

The increase last month pushed sales of new homes to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 842,000, the Commerce Department reported today, fewer than analysts had projected. And the big drop reported earlier for November’s was revised downward further, from 841,000 to 829,000 new homes sold. That’s a decline of 12.6% from October.

After a spring slump due to the coronavirus outbreak, housing came back strong in the summer and fall until last month’s significant drop. Historically low mortgage rates are helping nudge buyers into the market, but there is still a lack of inventory, which is pushing prices up.

The median price of a new home sold in December jumped to $355,900 up from $343,900 in November.