2011: the worst year for new home sales since 1963

The U.S. Census started tracking sales of new homes in 1963.

From Calculated Risk:

Even with the upward revisions to new home sales in October, November and December, 2011 was the worst year for new home sales since the Census Bureau started tracking sales in 1963. The three worst years were 2011, 2010, and 2009 with sales of 304, 323 and 375 thousand respectively.

Sales will probably increase in 2012, and sales will also probably be higher than the 323 thousand in 2010. But I expect this year will still be the third worst on record.

It’s a stunning number. But we got so overburdened with new inventory at the same time existing home inventory exploded because of a decrease in sales and a heavy stream of cheap REOs coming onto the market. Sales of new homes began collapsing in the middle of 2005, and we’re only now turning a corner. In a matter of years, record best years turned into record worst ones, despite significant increase in the U.S. population.

Here’s what that looks like in one of Calculated Risk’s great graphs: