New Single-Family Home Sales Top One Million Again In 2004

January 31, 2005

Sales Hit New Record High For Fourth Year In A Row

Sales of new single-family homes for 2004 topped one million and set a new annual sales record for the fourth consecutive year, according to U.S. Commerce Department figures released today.

“Sales were up nearly 9 percent for the year and topped one million for the second year in a row,” said NAHB President Dave Wilson, a custom home builder from Ketchum, Idaho. “The record-breaking pace can be attributed to strong demographic demand, low mortgage rates and rising employment and household income, and we expect this pattern to continue into early 2005.”

Total new single-family home sales for the year reached 1.183 million, an 8.9 percent increase from the previous annual record of 1.086 million set in 2003. The pace of new-home sales for December reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.098 million units, up a slight 0.1 percent from November’s pace of 1.097 million units.

“The sales pace for the fourth quarter was almost identical to the third quarter, and while we anticipate a slight decline in 2005, the performance of the housing market has achieved a very high plateau,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Seiders.

All four regions recorded solid annual sales increases for 2004. Sales in the Northeast topped 83,000, the Midwest had 209,000 sales, the South posted 546,000 sales and the West registered 345,000 sales. For the month, however, the sales pace across all regions was mixed. The Northeast posted a 15.7 percent decline and the South was down 16.3 percent from the November rate. The Midwest and the West increased 55.5 percent and 6.3 percent, respectively.

The median sales price of new single-family homes increased 12.2 percent to $218,000 for the year, up from $195,000 in 2003.

The inventory of new homes for sale was 432,000 at the end of 2004, a 4.8 months’ supply at the December sales pace. “The inventory situation inched up during the final months of 2004 but, as in previous months, most of the recent increase has been for units permitted but not yet started,” Seiders said. “The inventory situation is not worrisome, particularly if builders keep the numbers of units that are under construction or completed under close control,” he added.

Source: NAHB

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