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New home sales decline in June, surprising economists

July 25, 2012|By Alejandro Lazo
  • A for-sale sign stands in front of a house in San Diego. Americans bought fewer new homes in June after sales jumped to a two-year high in May.
A for-sale sign stands in front of a house in San Diego. Americans bought… (Gregory Bull / AP )

Sales of newly built homes in the U.S. fell sharply in June, surprising economists who had expected continued gains.

Sales fell 8.4% from May though were up 15.1% from June 2011, the Commerce Department reported. Homes were sold at a seasonally adjusted annualized pace of 350,000 units.

Patrick Newport and Michele Valverde, economists with IHS Global Insight, called the report “mixed” -- driven largely by an unusually large plunge in the Northeast. New home sales are often unreliable, they continued, and too much emphasis can’t be placed on one month’s data.

“One should never get too excited (or depressed) by the latest new home sales figures because they are not estimated very well,” the economists wrote in an emailed analysis. “A three-month moving average shows sales inching up nationally.”

June numbers have been weaker than in past months with sales of previously owned homes down nationally and in California. Prices have been trending up as buyers compete for a limited supply of homes and fewer foreclosures sell. 

ALSO:

Drop in foreclosure sales is boosting Southland prices

June U.S. housing starts up 6.9% to highest level in four years

Number of California homes entering foreclosure falls to 2007 levels

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