Sales fell 7% last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 414,000, according to a Reuters report. Economists had predicted a slower pace in December, but had estimated an annual rate of 457,000.
November sales were also revised downward to an annual rate of 445,000 from a previous estimate of 464,000.
New home sales were up year-over-year, rising 4.5% compared to December of 2012, Reuters reported. A total of 428,000 single-family homes were sold in 2013 – the most since 2008 and up 16.4% from 2012, according to Reuters.
Inventory, meanwhile, was down, falling 2.8% to 171,000 units – the lowest since July, Reuters reported. Median new home prices rose year-over-year, up 4.6% from December 2012. The median price rose 8.4% in 2013 to $265,800, the highest on record, according to Reuters.
At December’s sales pace it would take five months to clear the housing inventory on the market, Reuters reported. That’s up from 4.7 months in November. A six-month supply is considered an ideal balance.
Sales of new single-family homes fell in December, missing economists’ projections by more than 40,000 units – but yearly sales were still well above 2012.