New home sales in July were at the lowest level in nine
months the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development said
this morning. Sales during the month were at a seasonally
adjusted annual rate of 394,000, down 13.4 percent from the revised June rate
of 455,000. This is a massive 'miss' compared to the consensus of economists surveyed by Reuters which called for an annual pace of 490,000, and starkest evidence yet that the recent rise in rates is finally filtering through to the housing market.
The revision of June sales
was also significant as the number had originally been reported at 497,000
units. The July figure was the lowest
since October 2012 when the rate was 365,000 units. Even with the downturn, sales remained 6.8 percent higher than a year ago, when the annual pace was 369,000 units.
New Home Sales
The slump was felt nationwide. Sales in the Northeast were down 5.7 percent,
in the Midwest 12.9 percent, the South 13.4 percent, and the West 16.1
percent. The West was also down by 7.8 percent
compared to July 2012 and the Midwest was unchanged from that date. The rate of sales was up 10.0 percent in the
Northeast and 16.4 percent in the South from sales a year earlier.
On a non-seasonally adjusted basis sales nationwide totaled
35,000 compared to 43,000 in June and 33,000 one year earlier. Sales had been in excess of 40,000 every
month since last November.
There were 171,000 homes for sale at the end of the
reporting period, a 5.2 month supply at the current rate of sales. The inventory in June was 164,000 units; 4.3
months. Houses that sold during the
month had been on the market a median of 3.5 months compared to 4.1 months in
June and 6.4 months in July 2012.
The median price of a new home sold in July was $257,200 and
the average price was $322,700. In July
2012 the median and average prices were $237,499 and $282,300 respectively.