U.S. new-home sales unexpectedly fell in January, setting a record low and erasing all gains made in the market during the past year as the economy recovers from recession.
Demand for single-family homes fell 11.2% from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 309,000, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.
Sales in December fell 3.9%, revised from an originally reported 7.6% decline. The 11.2% decrease carried sales to their lowest ever. Records began in 1963. Sales fell below the level of 329,000 in January 2009 that analysts had considered the bottom for the market. Over the past year, sales had climbed, albeit slowly and unevenly, because of low prices, low mortgage rates, and tax incentives. But Wednesday's report wiped out the advance and showed, year over year, sales were 6.1% down from January 2009.