January 26, 2012
Sales of new U.S. homes unexpectedly declined in December for the first time in four months, capping the slowest year on record for builders.
Purchases of single-family properties decreased 2.2 percent to a 307,000 annual pace, figures from the Commerce Department showed today in Washington. The median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of economists called for a rate of 321,000 home sales. Last year marked the worst year for the industry in records going back to 1963.
The threat of further price declines may be dissuading some Americans from buying a new home even with mortgage rates near all-time lows and more people finding work. Following a lull in 2011, a wave of foreclosures may hamper the recovery in real estate as more distressed properties are put on the market.