US sales of new single-family homes drop 2.2% in December

26 January 2012 16:34  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--US sales of new single-family homes fell by 2.2% in December 2011 from November, the Department of Commerce said on Thursday, and last month’s pace for new residential property sales was 7.3% below the December 2010 level.

In its monthly report, the department said that sales of new single-family homes in December were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 307,000 units, down from the November pace of 314,000 and even further below the December 2010 sales rate of 331,000.

There are wide regional differences within the nationwide sales figures, however.

Sales of new one-family homes in the northeast shot up by 46.7% in December, the department said, and there was a strong 9% advance in the market in western states.

But those advances came in contrast to a 10.1% decline in the south and a 3.7% drop in the midwest, according to the report.

The housing market is a key downstream consuming sector for a wide variety of chemicals, resins and derivative products that are used as end-components in homes or consumed in production of end-use items, such as roofing materials, insulation, plastic pipe, paints and fibres.

The downturn in sales of new single-family homes last month is in contrast to the 5% jump in sales of existing homes in December.

And while sales of new single-family homes declined in December, the pace of new construction for one-family residences showed a 4.4% gain during the month.

This suggests that home builders are expecting that demand for new single-family homes will be picking up – or that the housing sector might be overbuilding and could become stuck with an inventory glut.

Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in his Chemicals and the Economy blog

By: Joe Kamalick
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