Annually, sales of new homes were down 4.1 percent, and over December 2018, these sales fell 6.9 percent. Realtor.com reports that the current sales pace had a 6.6 month supply of new homes on the market by the end of January, an uptick from December's 6.3 month supply. Existing-home sales were down 1.2 percent month-over-month, and 2018 was had the softest home sales since 2015.
Higher mortgage rates and a run-up in prices put a dent in home purchases in 2018. The average rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage rose about 1 percentage point to nearly 5 percent from the start of 2018 to last November, according to Freddie Mac. Since then, borrowing costs have dropped, hitting a low of 4.35 percent at the end of February before inching up again last week.