New-home sales decline in December

Sales of new single-family homes declined 7.0% in December, down from November’s revised rate of 445,000 to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 414,000.

The annual story, however, is one of double-digit gains, according to the data released Monday by the Commerce Department. An estimated 428,000 new homes were sold in 2013. That marks a 16.4% increase over the 2012 figure of 368,000.

The news comes shortly after the National Association of Retailers' existing-home sales report, which showed a slight month-to-month increase in December. 

The Northeast produced the slowest sales activity, showing declines of 36.4% compared with the prior month, and declines of 27.6% compared with the prior year. The Midwest experienced the strongest growth trends -- up 17.6% for the month, and up 25.0% for the year.

According to Monday’s data, the median sales price of new houses sold in December was $270,200, while the average sales price was $311,400.