The housing economy took a one-two punch in November as sales stalled and construction starts declined.
John Burns Real Estate Consulting reported that the average number of new-home sales per community dipped by 20% last month when compared with November 2013. The Commerce Department will release its report on November new-home sales on Dec. 23.
At the same time, groundbreakings on new, single-family homes dipped 5.4% between October and November, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday. Starts for multifamily buildings rose 7.6%. Combined, housing starts declined 1.6% in November.
The double-whammy comes close enough to the end of the year to temper the optimism of forecasters who predicted 2015 would be a year of growth for the housing industry.
“The mood of the industry heading into next year is extremely cautious,” said John Burns, CEO of Irvine, CA, consulting firm. “Nothing has happened to cause sales to slow this much.” He suggested that fast-rising home prices in 2013 could be “the primary culprit” for last month’s low numbers.