New home sales were expected to dip slightly in July after posting 13.8 percent growth in June and setting a 13-year high. Instead, the June sales were revised upward, from 776,000 to 791,000, bringing that month's increase to 15.1 percent and July still managed a 13.9 percent gain. Last month's sales were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 901,000 units, the fourth consecutive month-over-month increase. The month's sales of newly constructed homes were up 36.4 percent from the seasonally adjusted rate of 661,000 units during the same month in 2019.
Analysts polled by Econoday had expected sales to be in the range of 735,000 to 800,000. The consensus was for sales to be essentially unchanged from June at 774,000.
The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development said the strength in national sales came despite a substantial decline in the Northeast. Sales there fell 23.1 percent although they remained 25.0 percent higher on an annual basis.
The Northeast's performance was offset by a 58.8 percent sales gain in the Midwest. That region's sales were 81.3 percent higher year-over-year. The South posted a 13.0 percent gain, and a 27.6 percent increase from the prior July. Sales in the West were up 7.8 percent and 40.8 percent for the two earlier periods.
On an unadjusted basis there were 78,000 newly constructed homes sold during the month compared to 75,000 in June. In July 2019 there were 55,000 homes sold.
Sales for the first seven months of 2020 total 450,000 units compared to 415,000 for the same period last year, an increase of 8.2 percent. There were year-to-date increases in all four regions, 21.7 percent in the Northeast, 20.4 percent in the Midwest, and 4.8 percent and 8.7 percent in the South and West.
The median price of a home sold in July was $330,600, up from $308,300 in July 2019. The average sales price increased from $373,500 last year to $391,300.
There were 299,000 new homes available for sale at the end of July, 5,000 units fewer than at the end of June. The current inventory is estimated to be a 4.0-month supply at the current sales rate. This is down from a 4.6-month supply in June and 6.0 months a year earlier. New homes have been on the market a median of 4.1 months.