New residential sales in November decreased an estimated 11.3 percent from October to November, and is about 9 percent lower than the estimate for November 2008, to data released Wednesday by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The report comes on the heels of a rise in resale home sales for the third straight month reported Tuesday by the National Association of Realtors (see article).

Sales of new single-family houses in November were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 355,000. This rate is a projection of a monthly total over a 12-month period, adjusted to account for seasonal flutuations in the annual rate.

The median sales price of new houses sold in November was $217,400, down from $221,600 in November 2008, according to the report.

There was an estimated 7.9 months’ supply of new homes available for sale at the end of November, which is up from October’s estimate of 7.2 months but down 30.7 percent compared to an estimated supply of 11.4 months in November 2008.

An inventory of six months can represent a rough equilibrium between a buyer’s market and seller’s market, with a greater inventory representing a buyer’s market.

Preliminary numbers for November also indicated 13.6 was the median number of months a completed home was on the market, largely unchanged from the revised October number, 13.7. That represents an increase from November 2008, when the median was 9.2 months.

Homes under $300,000 made up 76 percent of new-home sales in November, compared with 69 percent in November 2008.


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