Report: 2011 - Worst Year On Record For New Home Sales - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Report: 2011 - Worst Year On Record For New Home Sales

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) - Fewer people bought new homes in December, making 2011 the worst sales year on record, while the average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage rose this week for the first time in a month.

The Commerce Department says new-home sales fell last month to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 307,000. The pace is less than half the 700,000 that economists say must be sold in a healthy economy.

Total sales last year were less than the 323,000 sold in 2010, making it the worst year on records dating back to 1963. The median sales prices for new homes dropped in December, as builders continued to slash prices. It fell 2.5 percent to $210,300.

The decline in sales comes as other signs suggest the depressed housing market is starting to recover. Construction picked up, sales of previously occupied homes are rising, and builders are slightly more confident.

The low mortgage rates have had few takers because most who can afford to buy or refinance have already done so. Freddie Mac says the average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage rose to 3.98 percent this week. That's up from 3.88 percent the previous week, which was the lowest level on record.

The average on the 15-year fixed mortgage also rose to 3.24 percent, from 3.17 percent the previous week. Mortgage rates are low because they tend to track the yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which fell below 2 percent this week.

 

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