Home sales decline for second straight month

Despite consistent positive rhetoric regarding the state of the housing market from both President Barack Obama and members of his administration, the latest data from the Commerce Department indicates that new home sales fell 7.0 percent in December from a month earlier. Sales were moving at a 445,000-unit pace in November, but dropped off markedly to just 414,000 units the following month, which is a significantly lower figure than even the most pessimistic economists had anticipated.

In fact, economists polled by Reuters had widely anticipated that sales would actually tick upward in December, with the median estimate coming in at 457,000 units over the month. However, this instead marked the second straight month of sales declines, though many experts believe this is attributed to the outsized 14.9 percent sales jump during October. 

Home sales are traditionally weak going into the winter months compared to warmer times of the year, but many are blaming this outsized dip on the recent polar vortex that stung much of the country over the past two months. The Northeast, a part of the country where the housing market had been considered nearly fully recovered, saw home sales tumble 36.4 percent month-to-month, which was the slowest pace of sales since June 2012. 

Another factor is the issue of housing supply, which fell over the month amid a drop off in new home construction. As a result, the stock markets have been all over the place as investors are unclear about the upcoming path of the housing market, the one sector that appeared to be a consistent bright spot on the national economy over the past year.

Gird yourself against any uncertainty by taking wealth preservation steps to ensure that you can enjoy your retirement regardless of the state of the economy.