U.S. New Home Sales Unexpectedly Jump 1.5% In August
A report released by the Commerce Department on Friday showed an
unexpected increase in U.S. new home sales in the month of
The Commerce Department said new home sales jumped by 1.5
percent to an annual rate of 740,000 in August after spiking by 6.4
percent to an upwardly revised rate of 729,000 in July.
The continued advance surprised economists, who had expected new
home sales to slump by 1.1 percent to a rate of 700,000 from the
708,000 originally reported for the previous month.
With the unexpected increase, new home sales continued to
recover after tumbling to their lowest level in over a year in
New home sales in the Northeast soared by 26.1 percent to a rate
of 29,000, while new home sales in the South surged up by 6.0
percent to a rate of 445,000.
While the report said new home sales in the West also climbed by
1.4 percent to a rate of 215,000, new home sales in the Midwest
plunged by 31.1 percent to a rate of 51,000.
"Despite the uptick in August, we expect new home sales to move
mostly sideways over the rest of 2021, as strong demand and low
mortgage rates are tempered by high prices and construction
backlogs," said Nancy Vanden Houten, Lead U.S. Economist at Oxford
The Commerce Department also said the median sales price of new
houses sold in August was $390,900, unchanged from July but up 20.1
percent from $325,500 in August of 2020.
The estimate of new houses for sale at the end of August was
378,000 compared to 366,000 at the end of July and 286,000 a year
The housing inventory at the end of August represents 6.1 months
of supply at the current sales rate, up from 6.0 months in July and
up from 3.5 months in August of 2020.
"The inventory of homes for sale increased in August to the
largest volume since October 2008, though a record share of
for-sale inventory is of homes where construction hasn't yet
started," Vanden Houten said.
She added, "The need to work through these backlogs should
support new home construction in the months ahead even if the pace
of sales moves sideways."
On Wednesday, the National Association of Realtors released a
separate report showing a pullback by U.S. existing home sales in
the month of August.
NAR said existing home sales slumped by 2.0 percent to an annual
rate of 5.88 million in August after jumping by 2.2 percent to a
revised rate of 6.00 million in July.
Economists had expected existing home sales to decrease by 1.7
percent to a rate of 5.89 million from the 5.99 million originally
reported for the previous month.
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