New home sales surprisingly dropped 7.6 percent last month, topping the industry’s weakest year on record.
The Commerce Department said that December sales fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 342,000 from an upwardly revised November pace of 370,000. Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters had forecast a pace of 370,000 for December.
The results were the weakest since March and indicated demand remains slow-moving despite newly expanded tax incentives to drive sales.
Home sales have had an unsteady recovery from their four-year slide. December’s sales pace was up 4 percent from the bottom in January 2009, but down 75 percent from the peak in July 2005.
The median sales price of $221,300 in…