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New home sales inch lower in July

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Sales of new single-family homes fell 0.7% in July from a month earlier, once again coming in well below most analyst estimates. The Commerce Department said the seasonally adjusted rate of 298,000 units last month declined from 300,000 for June, which was revised downward by 12,000. July new home sales were 6.8% higher than 279,000 a year earlier. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new homes for sale at the end of July was 165,000, representing a 6.6-month supply and near the lowest level in decades. A healthy housing market usually carries a six-month supply of single-family homes. Analysts surveyed by Econoday expected 313,000 new home sales in July with a range of estimates between 302,000 and 330,000. Briefing.com projected new home sales of 300,000 for the month, and a Briefing.com survey produced a consensus estimate of 310,000. The median sales price of new homes sold in July was $222,000, down 5.6% from $235,200 in June. Write to Jason Philyaw. Follow him on Twitter @jrphilyaw

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