Hot market hits cool point

February 28, 2003

New home sales plummet 15.1% in January

Inman News Features

Sales of new, single-family homes fell flat last month, suggesting a start to a possible slowdown in the booming housing market.

New home sales plunged 15.1 percent in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 914,000 from December's rate of 1.07 million, according to estimates released today by the Commerce Department.

However, last month's sales were still 5.1 percent above the January 2002 estimate of 870,000.

National Association of Home Builders President Kent Conine said the slowdown from rapid pace of sales in the last six months was practically inevitable. "From a builder's perspective, today's report is really no cause for alarm," he said. "(T)here is still a lot of strength in the nation's housing market."

The Commerce Department reported the median sales price of new homes sold in January was $182,300, while the average sales price was $228,600.

At the end of the month, the seasonally adjusted estimate of new homes for sale was 346,000, representing a 4.5-month supply at the current sales rate.

Copyright: Inman News Service

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