The Official Online Weekly Newspaper of NAHB
Sales of newly built, single-family homes held virtually unchanged in July with a 0.7% dip from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 298,000 units, according to U.S. Commerce Department data released on Aug. 23.
"The fact that new-home sales fell by less than 1% in July is an indication of how little conditions have changed in the housing market," said NAHB Chairman Bob Nielsen.
"While new-home inventories are exceptionally thin, home builders are still competing with large numbers of foreclosed and distressed homes on the market and with a climate of uncertainty in which consumers are reluctant to go forward with a major purchase for fear of what economic news tomorrow might bring," he said.
"The sales pace of newly built, single-family homes in July was in line with what it has been over the last year, and this is in keeping with our forecast," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.
"While we expect to see some marginal gains in sales activity through the rest of 2011, we do not foresee any major advances until economic growth helps boost home buyers' confidence," Crowe said.
Regionally, new-home sales recorded declines of 7.4% in the South and 5.9% in the West, but rose 2.4% in the Midwest and actually doubled (with a 100% increase) in the Northeast from a record low number in the previous month.
The inventory of new homes for sale in July fell to a 48-year record low of just 165,000 units, which represents a 6.6-month supply at the current sales pace.
Putting this situation into perspective, said Crowe, "the current nationwide inventory of completed new homes ready for occupancy — at 61,000 units — is in keeping with what a single major metropolitan area such as Atlanta might sell in a typical year."
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