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Investments / Lending

Census Bureau: New home sales inch upward

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New homes sales inched up in June, rising to 497,000 completed transactions, according to government data.

When evaluating single-family homes specifically, sales climbed 8.3% in June, above the revised May rate of 459,000 units.

Last month’s sales hovered 38.1% above the June 2012 estimate of 360,000 sales, the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development noted in a report released Wednesday.

"Most of the fundamentals right now for the new home market are very favorable especially low supply which, despite perhaps keeping current sales down, points to rising construction and rising sales ahead," said analysts forEconoday.

They added, "New home sales are at a new recovery high... But the 16,000 difference between the result and expectations is offset, to a degree, by large downward revisions in the prior two months that total 30,000. But it's the direction of the latest month that counts the most and here the result points convincingly to momentum."

The median sales price of new homes sold in June reached $249,700, down from $263,900 in May. June’s average sales price was $295,000. On a similar note, Quicken Loans Chief Economist Bob Walters noted that new homes rose again in June.

"The recent increase in mortgage rates hasn't slowed demand and as long as home affordability remains high. We are, however, seeing an increased urgency from potential new home buyers as they move to secure today's historically low rates."

At the end of June, the number of new homes for sale increased to 161,000 units, unchanged from May. This represents a 3.9-month supply of homes at today’s sales pace, down slightly from May’s 4.1-month supply.

Econoday analysts concluded, "Today's report on net is a plus for the housing sector where recent data, in part because of rising mortgage prices, have been soft. The Dow is moving down in initial reaction to today's report, perhaps reflecting concern that momentum in the new home market could pull forward Federal Reserve tapering."

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