Sales of new U.S. homes decrease to end first year of rebound

Growing Confidence

The building environment has brightened the mood among construction companies. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index held at 47 in January, the highest since 2006. Nonetheless, readings below 50 mean more respondents said conditions were poor.

“We think that 2013 is going to be a good year for the U.S. construction industry,” Charles Bunch, chief executive officer of paint and glass maker PPG Industries Inc., said during a Jan. 14 earnings call. “You’re seeing a lot of anecdotal information about, in certain markets, the housing resale market strengthening. We’ve seen increases in new-home construction permits and starts, so, overall, I would say we’re fairly optimistic.”

Figures from the NAR earlier this week showed previously owned homes sold at a 4.94 million rate in December, the second- highest since 2009. Last year 4.65 million homes were sold, up 9.2 percent from 4.26 million in 2011 and the most since 2007. The annual advance was the biggest since 2004.

Sales of new homes, counted when contracts are signed, are considered a timelier barometer than purchases of previously owned dwellings, which are calculated when a deal closes. Newly constructed houses accounted for 7.3 percent of the residential market in 2012, down from a high of 15 percent during the boom of the past decade.

Bloomberg News

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