New home sales declined 7% in December, the Commerce Department reported Jan. 27.
Sales declined to an annual rate of 414,000 homes from a 445,000 rate the prior month that was weaker than previously reported. The median selling price increased 4.6% from a year ago, to $270,200.
The rate was below economists’ median forecast of 455,000, Bloomberg News reported. For 2013, demand increased 16.4% to 428,000, the most in five years.
Purchases declined in three of four regions, led by a 36.4% drop in the Northeast.
Demand has increased from a record-low 306,000 homes sold in 2011, but it still is below the peak of 1.28 million sold in 2005 during the height of the housing boom, Bloomberg reported.
Rising home sales can mean more business for flatbed trucking companies, which haul building materials, and for dry van freight carriers, which haul household appliances and furniture.