Sales of new single-family houses in August 2015 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 552,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

This is the highest since February 2008.

This is 5.7% (±16.2%) above the revised July rate of 522,000 and is 21.6% (±18.7%) above the August 2014 estimate of 454,000.

The median sales price of new houses sold in August 2015 was $292,700; the average sales price was $353,400.

“Another rock-solid showing for new home sales that continues the strong trend we saw in the first half of the year,” says EverBank Executive Vice President of Home Lending Tom Wind. “This re-affirms our view that the housing market’s recovery continues.”

The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of August was 216,000. This represents a supply of 4.7 months at the current sales rate.

The Northeast was the biggest gainer, with a whopping 24.1% gain, while the Midwest saw a 9.1% drop in home sales. The South and West, the two larger regions, saw 7.4% and 5.4% gains, respectively.

"The real estate market continues to gradually improve as a robust jobs market combined with falling mortgage rates in August to drive sales,” says Alan MacEachin, Navy Federal Credit Union corporate economist. “Moreover, consumer confidence did not appear to be adversely affected  by the sharp stock market sell-off in August. Rising sales prices however may hurt sales growth going forward as marginal buyers exit the market."

This August performance compares to July’s print, where sales of new single-family houses in July 2015 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 507,000. That was 5.4% (±14.8%) above the revised June rate of 481,000 and was 25.8% (±22.6%) above the July 2014 estimate of 403,000.

For context, existing home sales dropped in August despite slowing price growth and a positive turnaround in the share of sales to first–time buyers, according to the National Association of Realtors. This follows three months of consecutive gains. None of the four major regions experienced sales increases in August.

Total existing home sales, which are completed transactions that include single–family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co–ops, fell 4.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.31 million in August.

Furthermore, housing starts fell to a three month low of 1.126 million in August, missing expectations of 1.116 million, and below last month's downward revised 1.161 million, the Census Bureau reported.

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