WASHINGTON, Sept. 26 (UPI) — Sales of newly constructed homes declined 7.6 percent in August from the previous month but were up 20.6 percent from a year ago, according to government data released Monday.
The sales were at a 609,000 seasonally adjusted annual rate, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said. The decline from the July revised figure of 659,000 was the largest one-month drop since September 2015.
August’s numbers beat the median forecast of 600,000 homes from economists surveyed by CBS MarketWatch.
Regionally, the biggest drop in one month was in the Northeast (34.3 percent) compared with declines of 7.6 percent in the East, 2.4 percent in the Midwest and 8 percent in the West.
Over the past year, prices declined in one region — Northeast at 25.8 percent. The increases elsewhere were 49.7 percent in the Midwest, 15.9 percent in the South and 35 percent in the West.
The median sales price in August was $284,000, which was the lowest since September 2014 and 5.4 percent below year-ago levels. A total of 4.6 months’ worth of homes were available at the current pace of sales in August. The average sales price was $353,000.
Sales of previously owned homes declined in August 0.9 percent compared with the previous month, according to the National Association of Realtors last week.
Total existing-home sales in August had an adjusted annual rate of 5.33 million in August from a downwardly revised 5.38 million in July.
Sales are 0.8 percent ahead of a year ago despite interest rates at near record lows.