New-home sales in December outpaced forecast

Posted by puguh on Sunday, January 30, 2011

New-home sales in December outpaced forecast. NEW YORK — Sales of new houses in the U.S. rose more than forecast in December, propelled by a record surge in the West as buyers in California may have rushed to qualify for a state tax credit before it expired.

Sales climbed 18 percent to a 329,000 annual pace, according to the Commerce Department on Wednesday. The percentage gain was the biggest since 1992 and was led by a record 72 percent jump in the West.

The median estimate of 79 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a rise to 300,000.

Following the industry's worst year on record, builders may keep facing competition from a growing glut of foreclosed homes that is depressing prices. The lack of a sustained housing rebound and unemployment above 9 percent are among reasons Federal Reserve policymakers Wednesday said they'll press on with a second round of stimulus that will pump $600 billion into financial markets by June.

Buyers of new houses in California could qualify for a tax incentive worth as much as $10,000 if they signed a contract between May 1 and the end of 2010, and close the deal by Aug. 1. Sales of new houses are based on contract signings rather than closings.


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