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Gold prices remain down as U.S. new home sales rise 2.3% in December, beating consensus forecasts

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(Kitco News) - The gold market remains under solid selling pressure as U.S. consumers appear to be taking some steps back into the housing market.

New home sales increased 2.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 616,000 units last month, the Commerce Department said on Thursday. November's sales pace was revised lower to 602,000 units from the previously reported 640,000.

The data beat expectations as consensus forecasts were expecting to see a sales rate of around 610,000 homes.

Although the headline number was stronger than expected, the report noted that home sales are down a whopping 26.6% from December 2021.

The report said that an estimated 644,000 new homes were sold in 2022, a drop of 16.4% compared to 2021.

The latest housing market data is not having much impact on gold as the market continues to attract sellers. February gold futures last traded at $1,933.40 an ounce, down 0.47% on the day.

Despite the better-than-expected headline number, the U.S. housing sector continues to struggle as rising interest rates and steady prices have forced many potential buyers out of the market.

Last year the Federal Reserve raised interest rates 425 basis points, its most aggressive tightening cycle in 40 years. At the same time, low inventory levels have kept home prices elevated throughout the year.

The report said that the median sales price for new homes sold last month was $442,100 and the average price was $528,400.

Looking at housing inventories, the report said that the number of homes for sale last month was 461,000, representing a 9-month supply.

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