US new home sales hit post-crisis record in 2016

Washington (AFP) – US sales of new single-family homes slowed in December but closed out the year at the fastest pace since before the 2008 financial crisis, the Commerce Department said Thursday.

Amid rising mortgage rates and home prices, the sales decline pointed to an end-of-year slowdown in the housing market, as sales of existing homes also slowed in December despite a record year.

New home sales fell 10.4 percent compared to November, to an annual rate of 536,000 units, seasonally adjusted, which was 0.4 percent below sales in December 2015.

An analyst consensus forecast had called for a significantly stronger result of 589,000 new home sales for the month.

Despite the decline in the final month of the year, the Commerce Department now estimates a total of 563,000 new homes were sold in 2016, the highest since 2007 when nearly 800,000 new homes changed hands.

The National…

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