New home sales in the U.S. for 2013 reached the highest level recorded since 2008. Even with a 7 percent drop in December, sales were up 16.4 percent for the whole year. The December low is attributed to severe weather that has occurred across many parts of the country. Although the weather may continue to put a damper on January sales, economists are "upbeat about the outlook for new home sales" and point out that mortgage rates are at a historical low. As the overall economy continues to gain strength and experience job growth, new home sales are expected to gain further ground in 2014.
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Photo: JEFF SCHEID