New home sales were down slightly in
August compared to July, slipping 0.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual
rate of 373,000 units and were 27.7 percent above the estimate of 292,000 in
August 2011. July sales were revised up
from the originally reported annual rate of 372,000 to 374,000. On a non-seasonally adjusted basis there were
31,000 homes sold during the month compared to 34,000 in July and 25,000 one
The median price of a new home sold in
August was $256,900 compared to $231,100 in July and $219,600 in August
2011. The average sales price last month
was $295,300 compared to $270,600 and $259,300 in the two earlier periods.
The inventory of unsold new homes at the
end of August totaled 141,000, unchanged from July. This represents a 4.5 month supply at the
current pace of sales. One year ago the
inventory stood at 161,000, a 6.6 month supply.
New Home Sales
On a regional basis, the annual rate of
sales in the Northeast was 36,000 units, an increase of 20 percent from July
and 56.5 percent from one year earlier. In
the Midwest sales were up 1.8 percent to 56,000 units, a 16.7 percent
improvement year-over-year. The rate of
sales in the West increased 0.9 percent to 107,000 units annually, a 64.6
percent improvement from August 2011.
The rate in the South however decreased 4.9 percent to 174,000 units but
remained 11.5 percent above the rate in the same period in 2011.
Omer Esiner, Chief Market Analyst,
Commonwealth Foreign Exchange, Washington said of the data, "We care about
the housing numbers a little bit more these days given the increasing signs
that the sector is at or near a bottom. It's a key element in the overall
economic recovery and one that could signal that conditions on the whole are
improving. This number will have very little impact on markets as the focus right
now is squarely on developments in the euro zone."
T. Doug Dale, Chief Investment Officer
for Security Ballew in Jackson, Mississippi said, "It's a continual amount
of evidence that in spite of low interest rates we still have a dysfunctional market
because you have a lot of people who still can't get refinancing or sell their
house because it is underwater. It's still a meaningful enough amount of
housing stock that might explain that here we are at 50-year low mortgage rates
and are not seeing the housing market just take off."