WEATHER HAS IMPACT ON NEW HOME SALES IN JANUARY

Unusually snowy conditions in the Midwest and Northeast contributed to a 9.2-percent decline in sales of newly built single-family homes in January, but demand in the nation's housing market remains solid, said the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) following the home sales report from the Commerce Department.

Last year's record-breaking home sales now stand at 1.2 million, an all-time record that's 10.5 percent ahead of the previous record set in 2003.

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On a national basis, new-home sales fell from December's seasonally adjusted annual pace of 1.22 million units to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.11 million units in January.

Regionally, snowy weather in the Midwest contributed to a dramatic 40.3 percent decline in home sales there during January. The Northeast also felt the pinch of wet and snowy conditions, posting a 17.1-percent decline from December, while the South posted the smallest decline, of 3.3 percent, and the West actually gained 5.6 percent.

Meanwhile, the number of unsold new units on the market in January climbed 3.5 percent to 438,000 or a 4- to 7-month supply at the current sales pace.

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