New home sales in 2015 saw their best year since 2007 according to the National Association of Home Builders outgoing chief economist David Crowe. In a recent post from Eye on Housing, Crowe looks at new home sales data from December, which showed a 10.8% increase to 544,000 on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis (SAAR) and finished 2015 just past half million.

The increase may be a result of historically low mortgage rates and a strengthening U.S. economy. The median sales price fell 4.3% to $288,900 due to an increase in sales between $200,000 and $300,000, which suggests that more first time home buyers are entering the market.

Sales were up in every census region although nominally in the South by 0.4%, to 273,000. In other regions, the Northeast was up 21% to 29,000 (SAAR), the Midwest up 32% to 75,000 and the West up 21% to 167,000. For the year, the Northeast was down 12% to 24,000 new homes sales, which is the worse year since 2011. Other regions performed much better with the Midwest up 3.2% to 60,000, the best year since 2008; the South was up 17.6% to 285,000, the best year since 2007; and the West was up 20.5% to 130,000, the best year since 2007.

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