New Home Sales Increase Year-Over-Year in January

New home sales were down from December, but still up by a decent amount from January of last year.

January was a month of contradictory results for single-family home sales, as the U.S. Census Bureau reports that though sales of the properties decreased by 0.9 percent from December, they increased by 3.5 percent from January 2011.

Released in conjunction with the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the report also stated that of the 321,000 new homes that were sold, the median sales price was $217,100, while 151,000 new single-family homes were still for sale at the end of January, representing a supply of 5.6 months.

Patrick Newport, an economist at IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Massachusetts, said in a Bloomberg report on new home sales that though sales seem low, there is optimism tucked away in the data.

“Sales are very low but are getting better,” Newport said. “It’s a combination of an improving economy and labor market.”

Along with a recent fall in jobless claims, analysts are increasingly predicting good economic developments for 2012.

A Wall Street Journal report on the data, though, was a bit more sobering in its approach, stating that without certain increases in relevant economic fields, home sales would not show reasonable improvements.

“For the housing sector to recover, the economy needs to create more jobs and housing prices must stabilize,” wrote Jeff Bater and Eric Morath for the paper.

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