Sales of newly built, single-family homes fell 9.3 percent in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 625,000 units, according to newly released data by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau. Despite this monthly decline, new home sales rose 8.3 percent overall in 2017 to 608,000 units.

“The number of consumers planning to buy a new home in the near future is trending upward,” said NAHB Chairman Randy Noel, a custom home builder from LaPlace, La. “Inventory remains low, but its growth in 2017 is an encouraging sign. Our members are also telling us that market conditions continue to improve.”

“Some moderation in sales was expected this month after a strong November reading,” said NAHB Senior Economist Michael Neal. “With ongoing job creation and rising home equity, we should see housing demand continue to grow in the months ahead.”

The inventory of new home sales for sale was 295,000 in December, which is a 5.7-month supply at the current sales pace. The median sales price of new houses sold was $335,400.

Regionally, new home sales decreased 2.4 percent in the Northeast, 9.5 percent in the West, 9.8 percent in the South and 10 percent in the Midwest.

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