New home sales climb to 329,000 rate in December (by Jeffry Bartash)
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - Sales of new single-family homes rose in December to an annual rate of 329,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis, the highest level since April when a federal tax credit gave the market a temporary boost. The Commerce Department reported on Wednesday that about 85% of the new sales took place in the South and West. Nationwide sales in November, however, were revised down to 280,000 from an initial reading of 290,000. Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast new home sales to rise to 299,000 in the final month of 2010. For the full year, new home sales totaled 321,000, down 14.4% compared to 2009. The median price of new homes climbed to $241,500 in December from $215,500 in November. The supply of new homes available fell to 6.9 months at the current sales rate from 8.4 months in the prior month, the lowest level since April.