New home sales reach 12-year high in January

Real Estate

Sales of new U.S. single-family homes raced to a 12-1/2-year high in January, pointing to housing market strength that could help to blunt any hit on the economy from the coronavirus and keep the longest economic expansion in history on track.

The Commerce Department said on Wednesday new-home sales jumped 7.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 764,000 units last month, the highest level since July 2007.

December's sales pace was revised up to 708,000 units from the previously reported 694,000 units. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast new-home sales, which account for about 12.3% of housing market sales, would advance 3.5% to a pace of 710,000 units in January.

New-home sales are drawn from permits and tend to be volatile on a month-to-month basis. Sales surged 18.6% from a year ago. New-home sales jumped 30.3% in the Midwest to their highest level since October 2007.

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