New housing sales fell in December

Sales of new single-family houses in December fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 307,000, down 2.2% from the revised November rate of 314,000. 

Compared with a year ago, December new housing sales were down 7.3%, according to the U.S. Commerce Department's new residential sales report released Thursday. 

For the full year in 2011, an estimated 302,000 new homes were sold. That's the lowest figure reported since the government began keeping track in 1963. The 2011 figure is also 6.2% below the 2010 figure. New housing sales reached a peak in 2005, when 1.282 million homes were sold. 

The median sales price of new houses sold in December 2011 was $210,300; the average sales price was $266,000. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of December was 157,000. That represents a supply of 6.1 months at the current sales rate.