New single-family home sales dropped 7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 414,000 for December, according to a Commerce Department report (link opens a PDF) released today. After November's report was revised downward from 464,000 to 445,000, this latest report pushes sales lower still. Analysts had expected a fairly steady annual sales rate of 450,000.
On a regional level, Northeast sales plummeted 36.4%, potentially due in part to bad weather -- similar to the "big freeze" that Markit says affected January manufacturing. The South and West regions both saw single-digit dips, while the Midwest made up for the rest with a 17.6% sales increase. In the past 12 months, national sales of new homes have still managed to squeak out a 4.5% gain.
At the current rate of sales, there's an estimated 5.0 months of supply, compared with 4.7 months in November. The median house price increased a slight $1,700 from November to December to hit $270,200.
This latest report follows on the heels of a National Association of Realtors report, which pointed to less-than-expected 1% growth for existing home sales in December.