New home sales match two-year high
New home sales in July climb 3.6 percent, matching May's total of new home sales. The supply of new homes for sale falls to a 49-year low.
In another sign of improvement in the housing market, new¬†home¬†sales¬†increased 3.6 percent in July from the previous month, the government reported Thursday.
Sales¬†of new residential¬†homes¬†rose to a seasonally adjusted level of 372,000 units in July, matching a more than two-year high for total¬†sales, the Census Bureau said.
The same number of new¬†homes¬†were sold in May before¬†sales¬†dipped to 359,000 in June. The last time more new¬†homes¬†were sold in the U.S. was in April 2010, when there were 422,000 sold, according to government data.
Economists had expected a smaller increase in July, to about 365,000¬†sales. But a sharp rise in the Northeast offset slight declines in the South and West to boost the numbers.
July¬†sales¬†were up 25.3 percent nationwide from a year earlier. And although¬†sales¬†aren‚Äôt close to the levels normally associated with an economic recovery, the trend is improving.
‚ÄúLevels of housing activity remain extremely depressed relative to previous peaks, but growth rates across most of the housing data are clearly moving in the right direction,‚ÄĚ Jill Brown, vice president of economics for Credit Suisse, said in a note.
On Wednesday, the National Association of Realtors reported that¬†sales¬†of previously occupied¬†homes¬†were up 2.3 percent in July after also dipping in June.
But new¬†home¬†construction has yet to pick up. The number of new houses for¬†sale¬†at the end of July fell slightly to 142,000 ‚ÄĒ a 4.6-month supply ‚ÄĒ compared to 143,000 at the end of June.
The July figure marked the lowest level of new houses for¬†sale¬†since the Census Bureau began tracking the data in 1963.