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New-home sales projected at five-year high

New-home sales are on track to be better in 2013 than they have been since 2008, prior to the housing market crash.

However, 2013 looks as if it will be the sixth-worst year for new-home sales since 1963, getting beat only by 2009-2012 and 1982, according to finance and economics website Calculated Risk.

The Census Bureau reported that 401,000 new homes were sold during the first 11 months of 2013, up 17.6 percent from the 341,000 that were sold during the same period in 2012. That follows an annual increase of 20 percent in 2012.

Though the increases have been large, 2013 is tracking to be on par with lows during previous recessions.

This suggests “significant upside over the next several years,” Calculated Risk blogger Bill McBride writes.

“Based on estimates of household formation and demographics, I expect sales to increase to 750,000 to 800,000 over the next several years — substantially higher than the current 464,000 sales rate,” McBride wrote. “So I expect the recovery to continue.”

He also expects to see the gap between existing-home sales and distressed sales to close, mostly because of an increase in new-home sales.

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