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New homes sold in 2010 at lowest levels in 47 years

The last time the U.S. saw fewer homes sold was in 1963.

The last time the U.S. saw fewer homes sold was in 1963.

The U.S. Commerce Department reported Wednesday that 329,000 new homes were sold in the United States last year, signaling that while people are taking advantage of low interest rates, the housing market is far from thriving.

According to the report, home sales at the end of December in 2009 were 375,000, meaning that the 329,000 sold in 2010 was a 14 percent drop. In short, the number of new homes sold in 2010 is the lowest number of homes sold in the U.S. since 1963.

Of the new homes that did sell in December 2010, they were overwhelmingly found in the South and West. The South and West saw new homes sell at a seasonally-adjusted annual pace of 278,000, compared to the 51,000 new units sold in the Northeast and Midwest.

Experts agree that 600,000 new homes sold annually will signal a real indication of the housing market bouncing back.

There's been a flurry of data recently appearing to signal a revived real estate market, but most of these statistics have reflected last month, not 2010 as a whole.