New property sales in the United States increased in December but overall they were down over 14% during 2010, the latest figures from the Department of Housing and Urban Development show.
US sales of new single-family houses in December 2010 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 329,000, some 17.5% above the revised November rate of 280,000, but are 7.6% below the December 2009 estimate of 356,000.
The median sales price of new houses sold in December 2010 was $241,500 while the average sales price was $291,400. An estimated 321,000 new homes were sold in 2010, 14.2% below the 2009 figure of 375,000.
Some states are seeing a stable market and recovery faster than others. In Texas, for example, homes sales in 2010 dropped 5% compared to a year earlier but prices remained relatively stable, a sign that the state has one of the strongest post crisis economies in the nation.
Nearly 203,000 homes were sold last year, according to the latest report from the Texas Association of Realtors. The median price for the year was $147,600, a 1% increase from 2009.
Fourth quarter home sales hit 43,603, an almost 19% drop from the fourth quarter of 2009 and the median price during that period rose 3% compared to the previous year, up to $147,400.
Jim Gaines, an economist at the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M, said the percent drop in quarterly home sales is not necessarily indicative of a trend or depreciation in the market. ‘In evaluating the fourth quarter of 2010, we must remember we’re comparing it to the fourth quarter of 2009, which was the most heavily government-stimulated quarter of that year with the federal first-time homebuyer tax credit. So, it’s not surprising to see a substantial difference in sales volumes when comparing those quarters,’ he explained.
‘Despite the difficulties of 2010, census figures have confirmed Texas has emerged in a stronger position than almost everywhere else in the country. Our homes are some of the most affordable in the country and we’re seeing job growth substantially greater than national averages, which will continue to fuel the recovery in Texas,’ said Dwight Hale, 2011 chairman of TAR.
According to the Miami Association of Realtors condo sales soared in November 2010 and these types of sales could help bring the market back sooner than predicted. Ron Shuffield, the president of Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell Realty, believes that the foreclosure freeze temporarily stalled market recovery in the area, but hopes that the market will start to return to normalcy in 2011 rather than 2012.
‘I get enthused when I look at where we were two years ago and where we are today. It’s been a lot of pain but these cycles don’t last forever,’ he added.