Fewer Americans purchased new homes in October, but sales are still much stronger this year than in 2015 – a positive sign for the housing market.
The Commerce Department said Wednesday that new-home sales fell 1.9 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 563,000 units. Still, sales through the first 10 months of this year are 12.7 percent higher than during the same period in 2015.
Demand for new homes has surged because of a stable job market and low mortgage rates. That has strained supplies as builders have failed to keep pace with homebuyers. Yet new-home sales are running below their historic averages as housing continues to heal from the foreclosures and disruptions that led to the Great Recession at the end of 2007.
Sales fell last month in the Northeast, Midwest and South, while improving in the West. Just 5.2 months' supply of new homes are available on the market, down from 5.6 months a year ago.