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Sales of new single‐family houses in December were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 664,000, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 8% above the revised November rate of 615,000 and is also 4.4% above the December 2022 estimate of 636,000.

An estimated 668,000 new homes were sold in 2023, which is 4.2% above the 2022 figure of 641,000.

The median sales price of new houses sold in December was $413,200 while the average sales price was $487,300. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of December was 453,000, which represents a supply of 8.2 months at the current sales rate.

Also on the rise in December was homebuyer affordability. The Mortgage Bankers Association reported the national median payment applied for by purchase applicants decreased last month to $2,055 from $2,137 in November.

The national median mortgage payment was $2,055 in December, down $82 from November but also up $135 from one year ago, equal to a 7.1% increase. The national median mortgage payment for FHA loan applicants was $1,833 in December, down from $1,902 in November and up from $1,602 in December 2022. And the national median mortgage payment for conventional loan applicants was $2,053, down from $2,137 in November and up from $1,954 in December 2022.

“Homebuyer affordability improved for the second consecutive month in December as interest rates declined significantly from recent highs,” said Edward Seiler, MBA’s associate vice president of housing economics and the executive director of the Research Institute for Housing America. “While the average median purchase application amount increased to $306,450, MBA expects that affordability conditions will continue to improve as mortgage rates fall further and as housing inventory continues to increase.”

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