New home sales rose in December in bright spot for market

New home sales rose 8% from November to December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 664,000, according to a report Thursday from the Census Bureau, indicating that the lack of supply of previously owned homes is directing buyers to newly built units.

Sales in December were 4.4% higher than in December 2022. The median sales price for a new home was $413,200 in December.

Existing home sales fell in the month, the National Association of Realtors reported, as high mortgage rates put downward pressure on families’ home purchasing power. Mortgage rates recently crossed the 8% threshold, the highest in 23 years, before pulling back.

As of Thursday, the average rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 6.95%, according to Mortgage News Daily, which tracks daily changes in rates.

Over the past year or so, high
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