New-home sales jumped 4.3 percent from the revised December 2020 rate of 885,000 and January 2021 to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 923,000, according to data released Wednesday by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
That figure is also 19.3 percent above the January 2020 estimate of 774,000.
The Midwest saw the greatest gains month over month with an increase of 12.6 percent in sales between December 2020 and January 2021. Meanwhile, the West saw a gain of 6.8 percent and the South saw a 3-percent increase. The Northeast, however, saw a 13.9 percent decline in sales.
The median sales price of new homes sold in January 2021 was $346,400, down from a median of $355,900 in December 2020, but up year over year from $328,900 in January 2020.
Amid continued homebuyer demand, inventory dropped 2.4 percent month over month to a four months supply of inventory, and a seasonally adjusted estimate of 307,000 new houses for sale.
But some industry analysts expect inventory may change for the better in the near future with the nation’s vaccine rollout continuing to make progress, which would be a welcome adjustment in the wake of active listings hitting an all-time low at the end of January.
“We expect that the vaccine rollout will likely boost inventory, as sellers become increasingly willing to move despite COVID-19 — resulting in greater numbers of new listings beginning this spring,” Manny Garcia, population scientist at Zillow, recently wrote in a Zillow report. “That injection of inventory could give buyers more options and breathing room in a competitive market.”