Sales of new homes tick up in June

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - BUSINESS & FARM -

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.

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