Sales of new homes tick up in June
WASHINGTON — U.S. sales of new homes perked up slightly in June, a sign that more would-be buyers are seeking newly built properties.
The Commerce Department said Wednesday that new home sales edged up 0.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 610,000. Sales have registered a healthy 10.9 percent increase so far this year.
The gains come amid a broader shortage of homes listed for sale, likely pushing more buyers into new construction. Despite steady growth since the housing bubble began to burst a decade ago, sales of new homes remain below historic averages. Builders are contending with a lack of land for construction, a shortage of workers and rising costs for some materials.
“When taking into account the size of the U.S., new home sales are still about 30 percent below the 50-year average,” said Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist at the real estate firm Trulia. “But the signs for homebuilders are clear: if you build, they will come.”
Sales last month advanced in the Midwest and West, but purchases were unchanged in the Northeast and dropped in the South.
There were 272,000 new homes on the market in June, the most since June 2009.
But that accounts for only a 5.4 months’ supply based on the current sales rate. The gain in new home inventory has been insufficient to offset the declines in sales listings of existing homes.