New-home sales jump as inventory levels dwindle

New-homes sales jump nearly 16 percent in January.On the heels of a report showing that existing-home sales improved in January, another analysis shows that new-home sales grew last month as well.According to a joint release issued by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, newly constructed single-family home purchases increased nearly 16 percent in January,?to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 437,000 in the first month of the year. It's believed to be the fastest rate of home sales since the summer of 2008.Rick Judson, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders, noted that this is yet another sign that the market is back from the brink.”The surge in demand for new homes this January is an excellent sign that the housing recovery is gaining steam and helping put more people back to work,” said Judson.He added that tight credit restrictions are preventing the housing market from mounting a more significant recovery.David Crowe, chief economist at NAHB, indicated that the nation's low housing supply may have an effect as well, as supply has had trouble keeping up with demand. Inventory levels amount to approximately four months worth.Demand has been even heavier in the Houston real estate sector. Recent data from the Houston Association of Realtors shows that based on the current sales pace, the city has an inventory level of 3.6 months – the lowest level in more than 13 years.
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