The Commerce Department’s actual, not seasonally adjusted, data for August dropped to 31,000 units from 34,000 in July. Such downticks are normal for the second half of the year. Sales totaled 25,000 units in August 2011. In the Wells Fargo- NAHB builders survey, builders reported improved sales and increased traffic in September. Both reached new recovery highs. The NAHB survey data is seasonally adjusted. They do not make the actual data public.
The usual seasonal downturn is under way but sales remain 24% above last year’s June level. The inventory to sales ratio is at its lowest level since 2005.
Prices rose sharply in August. New home sale prices are extremely volatile month to month, depending on the mix of price ranges going under contract. But median price was up 17% year to year, while the average price was up 13.9% year to year. Recovery in new home sale prices has caught up to the gains in existing home sales. Median new house prices remain above the prices of existing homes at $256,900 versus $187,400 (NAR) . Median new home prices are down only 2.2% from the March 2007 peak while existing house sales are still down 18%.
This report is excerpted from the permanent Housing Charts page, updated regularly when new data is available. It includes price and volume data from a variety of business organizations and government agencies to give you a complete and accurate overview of trends in the housing market.
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