New home sales in August reclaimed part of July's sharp loss. The Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development said sales nationwide of newly constructed single-family houses was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 713,000 units. This was 7.1 percent higher than the adjusted July rate, originally estimated at a 12.8 percent loss, but revised upward in the current report by 20,000 units to 666,000. The healthy increase in August sales, however, was felt in only two of the four major regions. Activity in the West was especially strong.
The August results moved sales well above the 604,000 level in August of 2018, a difference of 18.0 percent, and was the second highest sales rate of the last year, exceeded only by an annual sales rate of 729,000 in June. It was also substantially above forecasters' expectations. Analysts polled by Econoday had predicted sales at a seasonally adjusted rate between 640,000 and 685,000. The consensus was 662,000.
On a non-adjusted basis there were 57,000 homes sold during the month compared to 56,000 in July. On a year-to-date basis, sales are up 6.4 percent to a total of 474,000. This is 6.4 percent higher than sales through the end of August 2018 which were estimated at 445,000 units.
The median price of a home sold in August was $328,400 and the average was $404,200. A year earlier the median and mean were $321,400 and $380,900 respectively.
At the end of August there were 326,000 single-family units available for sale compared to 330,000 the previous month and 318,000 a year earlier. Only 79,000 of those properties were complete. The current inventory is estimated to be a 5.5-month supply at the current pace of sales, down from 5.9 months in July and 6.3 months in August 2018.
Sales fell 5.9 percent in the Northeast from their July level and were unchanged from the prior August. The Midwest was also down, by 3.0 percent and 7.2 percent from the two earlier periods.
In the South there was a 6.0 percent month-over-month gain with an increase of 24.9 percent on an annual basis. The West saw sales shoot 16.5 percent higher putting them up 17.9 percent year-over-year.