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[New Home Sales] Up 9.6% – New Is Better Too?

Here’s the meat from the commerce department’s July new residential sales report [1] released yesterday.

Sales of new one-family houses in July 2009 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 433,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 9.6 percent (±13.4%)* above the revised June rate of 395,000, but is 13.4 percent (±12.9%) below the July 2008 estimate of 500,000. The median sales price of new houses sold in July 2009 was $210,100; the average sales price was $269,200. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of July was 271,000. This represents a supply of 7.5 months at the current sales rate.

Inventory has fallen to 7.5 months from 12.4 months [2] earlier this year because builders simply aren’t building. The general thinking is that the tax credit and low rates have helped move properties more than they would have otherwise. However, distressed property sales are now competing with new construction and credit remains tight.

The number of new properties available for sale is the lowest it has been since 1993 [3].

Sales picked up in three out of the nation’s four geographic areas, with a sizeable gain of 16.2 percent in the South, the nation’s largest-selling region, which includes the Washington area. Sales fell only in the Midwest, by 7.6 percent.