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New home sales climb in August

September 25, 2013|By Andrew Khouri
  • Sales of newly built homes rose 7.9% in August from July, the Commerce Department said. Above, a home under construction in San Juan Capistrano in June.
Sales of newly built homes rose 7.9% in August from July, the Commerce Department… (Mark Boster, Los Angeles…)

New homes sales rose nationwide in August, after a big decline a month earlier.

Sales of newly built homes climbed 7.9% from July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 421,000, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. That rate is a 12.6% increase from August 2012.

July’s disappointing sales figure was revised downward and August sales came in slightly lower than the 425,000 rate analysts polled by Bloomberg News expected.

Amid the housing recovery, developers this year have increased construction of new homes, but the pace has yet to return to historically normal levels. Builders cite the lack of suitable building lots and tough access to credit among their concerns.

IN DEPTH: Five key takeaways on America's housing market

Builders also said that some buyers had pulled back on new home purchases recently because of higher mortgage interest rates, which have risen more than one percentage point since early May.

The new home sales data is based on contracts signed, providing a more current sense of market activity than existing home sales figures, which are based on closed deals that were signed a month or two earlier. 

Sales of newly constructed homes rose in all regions expect the West, where sales dropped 14.6% from July.

The median sale price for a new home in August was $254,600 nationally and there was a five-month supply of homes for sale at the current sales pace.

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