Sales of newly-built homes sunk this summer, says the Commerce Department which tracks these numbers nationally. The agency said the number of homes sold in July was 394,000 representing a decline of 13.4 percent. The agency said this rate is below the June rate of 455,000 and just slightly above the June 2012 estimate of 369,000.
“The median sales price of new houses sold in July 2013 was $257,200; the average sales price was $322,700. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of July was 171,000. This represents a supply of 5.2 months at the current sales rate,” said the U.S. Census Bureau News in a joint release with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Despite this drop housing starts nationwide jumped 5.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 896,000 units in July, said the National Association of Home Builders. Single-family home construction recorded a modest decline from a rate that was upwardly revised for the previous month. And all this comes at a time when mortgage rates are continuing an upward trend and now hovering at 4.58 percent.
“Builders are making every effort to keep up with the rising demand for new homes and apartments, and construction in both sectors is running well ahead of the pace we saw at this time last year,” Rick Judson, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders said in a news release from the group. “However, ongoing issues with accessing credit and limited supplies of finished lots and labor are making it tough to do that, particularly for single-family builders.”
In the northeast sales of new homes fell from 35,000 in June to 33,000 in July. while the number of new homes brought into the market for sale went from 14,000 in June to 15,000 in July, according to the National Association of Home Builders.
Locally, some real estate sales people are noting that interest in new home construction is coming back around.
“There is not a run (on new construction) but we are starting to feel a little bit of interest percolating again,” said Diana Cummins of Douglas Elliman and president-elect of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors. She said in the northern communities of Westchester and Putnam County “there is a bit of resurgence” from builders who were waiting for the market to come back.
(Above: A new 6,500-square-foot home on Guard Hill Road in Bedford Corners listed for sale, according to Zillow.com.)