New Home Sales Continue to Grow

When Joel Adler decided it was time to downsize from his six-bedroom house in Parkland, Fla., where he had lived for more than 20 years, he was disappointed with the lack of options.

“There weren’t a lot of homes to look at,” said Mr. Adler, a 76-year-old retired teacher, who had been searching for a year and a half.

Eventually, he turned to Valencia Sound, a gated community in Boynton Beach, Fla., that opened in 2019, joining the growing ranks of home buyers who opted for a newly built house instead of an existing one, a rare bright spot in an otherwise gloomy market.

The housing market has been mired for much of the past year, bogged down by high prices, soaring mortgage rates and a dearth of inventory, pushing many would-be buyers to the sidelines.

Existing homes typically account for about 90 percent of sales, but homeowners who have locked in low-rate mortgages have been reluctant to sell, resulting in limited choices and sky-high prices for prospective buyers. Last year, existing-home sales fell to the lowest level in nearly 30 years, while the median price hit a record high, according to a recent report by the National Association of Realtors.

That spurred a rise in construction, as developers rushed to meet demand and dangled incentives to entice buyers. Sales of new homes jumped 4.2 percent last year from 2022, the Census Bureau reported on Thursday.

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