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Today, the U.S. Census Department released its monthly New Residential Home Sales Report for December. It showed a notable monthly decline with sales falling 7.3% since November, but rising 8.8% above the level seen in December 2011 and remaining at a historically low level of 369K SAAR units.

It's important to recognize that the inventory of new homes appears to now be bouncing around a very low 151K units. That's near the lowest level seen in in at least 47 years, while the median number of months for sale has improved to 4.6. The monthly supply increased to 4.9 months, while the median selling price increased 13.86% and the average selling price increased 15.63% from the year-ago level.

The following chart shows the extent of sales decline to date.

Source: New-Home Sales: December 2012