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HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 99-02
Further Information:For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685Wednesday
Or contact your local HUD officeJanuary 6, 1999


WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo said record sales of new homes in 1998 that were announced today by HUD and the Census Bureau "are another powerful sign that 1998 will go down in history as a home run year for homeownership."

The new HUD-Census Bureau report showed that in just the first 11 months of 1998, builders across the United States sold more new homes than in any full year in American history. Builders sold 823,000 new homes from January through the end of November in 1998 - shattering the previous record for a full year of 819,000 new home sales that was set in 1977.

For the first 11 months of 1998, new home sales ran 9 percent above the same period in 1997, the report found. If the pace of the first 11 months continued in December, builders will have sold about 875,000 new homes in all of 1998. December figures will be reported next month.

In addition, the report said November sales of new homes were higher than in any month on record on a seasonally adjusted annual basis - breaking a record set in June and jumping 8 percent from October.

"Low interest rates, low unemployment, economic prosperity and our homeownership initiatives are helping renters become homeowners in record numbers across this country," Cuomo said. "For these families, President Clinton's successful economic policies aren't just a jumble of dull statistics - they're a profoundly important achievement that has improved people's lives."

America's homeownership rate is expected to reach its highest level in history in 1998 when full-year statistics are compiled at the end of this month, Cuomo said. The 1998 third-quarter homeownership rate was a record high 66.8 percent of all households. A total of 69.1 million American families own their homes - more than at any time in American history, and 7.4 million more than when President Clinton took office in 1993.

On top of the report issued today, the National Association of Realtors announced last week that it estimates Realtors sold approximately 4.78 million existing homes in 1998, exceeding the previous record of 4.22 million set in 1997. The estimate is based on projected sales of existing homes in December. Actual December sales figures will not be reported until the end of the month.

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