New home sales fell 0.9 percent in January, declining from 324,000 in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 321,000.[IMAGE]
The ""Commerce Department"":http://www.commerce.gov/ found that the new home sales from January reflected a 3.5-percent increase year-over-year, up from a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 310,000.
""The new homes market is finally benefitting from the recent improvement in housing demand,"" ""Paul Dales"":http://www.capitaleconomics.com/staff/global-economics/paul-dales.html, a senior U.S. economist with consultancy ""Capital Economics"":http://www.capitaleconomics.com/, said in a note.[COLUMN_BREAK]
""But with new homes only available at an extremely high premium relative to existing homes, the recovery in new sales will be more muted than for existing sales,"" he added.
He advised readers not to look too much into the month-over-month decline in January, attributing it to revised estimates from December. He also cited ""unseasonably warm winter weather"" as one reason why new home sales went up in certain regions.
Sales in the Northeast accordingly leapt forward by 11.1 percent from December but fell 39.4 percent from January last year.
The South boasted still-strong numbers on either basis, up 9.3 percent month-over-month and 15.3 percent year-over-year.
Roughly 24.5 percent fewer homes went for sale in the Midwest last month than in December, an 11.9-percent loss from January last year.
In the West, new home sales rose 5.6 percent from January last year but declined 10.6 percent month-over-month.
The Commerce Department fielded a median sales price of $217,100 for new homes sold in January 2012, with an average sales price of $261,600.