US new home sales jump in December as prices fall

SILVER SPRING, Md. — Sales of new single family homes in December rose to their highest level in 10 months as buyers took advantage of lower prices in anticipation of higher interest rates.

The increase put the seasonally adjusted annual sales pace to 811,000 for the month, according to the Commerce Department, an 11.9% increase over November’s figure, which was revised down to 725,000 from 744,000.

The median price of a new home, the point where half the homes sold for more and half for less, fell to $377,700, last month, its lowest level since June but about 4% higher than December 2020.

In the months following the pandemic outbreak in the spring of 2020, new home sales exploded as people sought out more space. Besides December’s big increase, sales generally declined in the past six months but remain elevated.