US new home sales soar in December to a nine-month high

WASHINGTON, Jan 26 (Reuters) – Sales of new single-family homes in the United States soared to a nine-month high in December, boosted by a severe shortage of existing homes on the market.

New home sales rose 11.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 811,000 units last month, the highest level since March, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast that new home sales, which make up more than 10% of the total in the United States, would rise to a pace of 760,000 units.

New home sales are a leading indicator of the real estate market, but can be volatile on a monthly basis.

The new housing market is being propped up by a historically low inventory of existing homes. Demand is expected to remain strong, even if mortgage interest rates rise. (Reporting by Lucia Mutikani Edited in Spanish by Javier López de Lérida)

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