Sales of new homes in the U.S. unexpectedly dropped in December, signaling a government tax credit may no longer be helping shore up demand.
Purchases declined 7.6 percent to an annual pace of 342,000, the fewest since March, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. For all of 2009, sales dropped 23 percent to 374,000, the lowest level since records began in 1963.
Sales were projected to climb to a 366,000 annual pace from an originally reported 355,000 rate in November, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 70 economists. Forecasts ranged from 340,000 to 399,000. The government revised November’s reading to 370,000.
The benefits from yet another government demand push-forward contraption expire: the cost: hundreds of billions in new debt.