December New Home Sales Less Than Expected

In another sign that the U.S. housing market may have peaked, sales of new single-family homes in December 2004 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.098 million, below the 1.2 million rate that economists generally expected.

Nevertheless, December's figure was one-tenth of a percentage point above the revised rate of 1.097 million in November of last year, the U.S. Commerce Department and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development jointly reported on Jan. 31.

During all of 2004, a record 1.183 million new single-family houses were sold.

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