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New home sales drop but show signs of recovery

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(Read caption) This chart shows the annual number of new home sales (in thousands) since 2004. Sales dropped slightly in December 2011 but are 3.55 percent above the level seen in January 2010.

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Today, the U.S. Census Department released its monthly New Residential Home Sales Report for January showing a monthly decline with sales dropping 0.97% since December but rising 3.55% above the level seen in January 2011 and remaining at an historically low level of 321K SAAR units.

It's important to recognize that the inventory of new homes has now fallen to a new series low at 151K units, lowest level seen in in at least 47 years while the median number of months for sale increased to 7.1.

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The monthly supply declined to 5.6 months while the median selling price declined 9.57% and the average selling price declined 5.11% from the year ago level.

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The above chart show the extent of sales decline to date (click for full-larger version).