Sales of new one-family houses in November 2005 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about 1.245 million, according to estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

This is 11.3 percent below the revised October rate of 1.4 million and is 6 percent above the November 2004 estimate of 1.175 million. The seasonally adjusted annual rate is a projection of a monthly total over a 12-month period, accounting for seasonal fluctuations in sales activity.

The median sales price of new houses sold in November 2005 was $225,200, up 0.3 percent from November 2004; the average sales price was $283,300, up 0.04 percent from November 2004.

The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of November was 503,000. This represents a supply of 4.9 months at the current sales rate, the agencies reported. The months’ supply of new houses sold and for sale jumped an estimated 14 percent from November 2004 to 2005, and the supply has not reached this level in over five years.

Regionally, the rate of new houses sold and for sale increased about 10.1 percent in the South, 9.4 percent in the Northeast, and 0.6 percent in the West from November 2004 to November 2005, according to statistics, while the sales rate remained flat in the Midwest.

There were 512,000 new houses for sale at the end of November, compared to 423,000 at the end of November 2004, the agencies reported.

Statistics are estimated from sample surveys. The data is subject to sampling variability as well as non-sampling error including bias and variance from response, non-reporting, and under-coverage, according to the announcement.

Changes in seasonally adjusted statistics often show irregular movement, according to the announcement. It can take six months to establish a trend for new houses sold. Preliminary new home sales figures are subject to revision due to the survey methodology and definitions used.

The survey is primarily based on a sample of houses selected from building permits. Since a “sale” is defined as a deposit taken or sales agreement signed, this can occur prior to a permit being issued. An estimate of these prior sales is included in the sales figure.

On average, the preliminary seasonally adjusted estimate of total sales is revised about 3 percent, the agencies reported. Changes in sales price data reflect changes in the distribution of houses by region, size, etc., as well as changes in the prices of houses with identical characteristics.

New residential sales data for December 2005 will be released at 10 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 27, 2006.

The scheduled monthly release dates for 2006 data are: Jan. 27, Feb. 27, March 24, April 26, May 24, June 26, July 27, Aug. 24, Sept. 27, Oct. 26, Nov. 29, and Dec. 27.

***

What’s your opinion? Send your Letter to the Editor to glenn@inman.com; (510) 658-9252, ext. 137.

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