New Home Sales Biggest Drop in 16 Years; Durables Orders Rose 3.1%

New home sales jumped 4.8% in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.12 million homes, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. For the full year 2006, new home sales plunged 17.3%, the biggest drop in 16 years, to 1.06 million, down from the record 1.28 million in 2005.

New home sales are down 11% compared to December 2005 estimate of 1.26 million. 

December New Homes Sales Highlights:

  • The median sales price of new houses sold in December 2006 was $235,000, while the average sales price was $290,100. 

  • The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of December was 537,000. This represents a supply of 5.9 months at the current sales rate.

  • Sales in the Northeast soared a seasonally adjusted 27.3% in December.

Durable Orders:

New orders for manufactured durable goods in December increased 3.1% to $221.9 billion, following a 2.2% jump in November,  according to the U.S. Census Bureau announced today. 

New orders for nondefense capital goods increased $6.7 billion or 9.0% in December to $80.7 billion. Defense new orders for capital goods decreased 17.5% to $9.4 billion.

Other December Highlights:

  • Excluding transportation, new orders increased 2.3%. 
  • Excluding defense, new orders increased 3.9%.
  • Shipments of manufactured durable goods rose 0.8% to $211.6 billion.
  • Inventories of manufactured durable goods increased $1.3 billion or 0.4% to $296.0 billion. 

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