Home sales down in Dec.

Antelope Valley Press - - BUSINESS -

WASH­ING­TON (AP) — U.S. sales of newly built homes fell 0.4% in De­cem­ber, cool­ing slightly af­ter low mort­gage rates fu­eled gains for much of 2019.

The Com­merce De­part­ment said Mon­day that new sin­gle-fam­ily houses sold at a sea­son­ally ad­justed an­nual rate of 694,000 last month. But for all of 2019, sales climbed 10.3% to 681,000, the high­est total since 2007 when 776,000 new homes were sold as the hous­ing bub­ble was be­gin­ning to de­flate ahead of the Great Re­ces­sion.

Last year’s gains were driven en­tirely by new homes pur­chased in the South and West. Sales of new homes slumped in the North­east and Mid­west in 2019.

Lower mort­gage rates be­gan to boost real es­tate sales rel­a­tive to 2018. De­cem­ber’s me­dian new-home sales price was $331,400, up 0.5% from a year ago.

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