Do New Home Sales Freeze Weather-Related Excuses?

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The real estate market finally received some good news: sales of new single-family homes in the United States last month reached their best level in over five years. However, there is more doubt than ever that weather alone is responsible for the recent weakness seen in other reports.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that purchases of new homes, measured by contracts signed, jumped 9.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted 468,000-unit pace in January, compared to the upwardly revised December rate of 427,000 units. Home sales were up 2.2 percent from January 2013, but as the chart above shows, the housing market is still far below its glory days.

The results were better-than-expected. On average, economists estimated home sales to come in at a 400,000-unit pace. This was a pleasant surprise since last month’s report was the biggest miss of expectations since July 2013. The rise in January also breaks a two-month losing streak for new home sales. A total of 428,000 single-family homes were sold in 2013 — the best year since 2008.

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