New dwelling gross sales drop 6.9% in January, in signal govt shutdown could have harm shopping for

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Sales of new U.S. homes slumped 6.9 percent in January, a possible sign that buyers paused during the government shutdown.

The Commerce Department says that new homes sold at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 607,000 in January, down from 652,000 in December.

The partial government shutdown during January as well as a battered stock market appears to have hurt sales, even as lower mortgage rates eased affordability pressures and boosted buyer interest. Purchases of homes yet to be constructed to plunged 26.8 percent in January, accounting for all of the month’s decline. Sales increased of homes that were already under construction. New-home sales in January ran slightly below the totals for 2018 and 2017.

The median sales price of a new home in January fell 3.8 percent to $317,200.

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