New Home Sales Slide in May

New single-family houses sold at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 342,000 units in May, according to estimates released jointly today by the US Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, down 0.6% from April. According to the revised annual rate, the total unsold inventory represents 10.2 months of supply at the current rate. Year on year, May’s sales rate sits 32.8% below the rate seen in May 2008. Currently, an estimated 292,000 new houses sit on the market available for sale. New houses sold at a median price of $221,600, meaning half sold for more and half sold for less. Meanwhile, the average price of all new home sales came in at $274,300 in the month. The majority of new home sales — about 22,000 or roughly 69% of 32,000 homes sold in the month — occurred in the lower price levels, $299,000 and under, indicating affordability remains a key issue even in purchasing a new home. Another 4,000 or so sales were of homes  priced from $300,000 to $399,000, while 3,000 sales were priced from $400,000 to $499,999 and an additional 3,000 sales ranged from $500,000 and above. Write to Diana Golobay.

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