Sales of new single-family homes declined for the fourth consecutive month in August keeping 2011 on pace for being one of the worst years for single-family home sales since the Census Bureau started keeping records back in 1963.
Sales of new homes declined 2.3 percent from July to August at a seasonally adjusted rate of 295,000, down from a revised rate of 302,000 in July. The rate of sales in July was revised upward from 300,000 to 302,000.
New single-family home sales had fallen to an all-time low sales rate of 279,000 in February and were followed by gains in March and April, but have been declining since May.
The sales rate in August was still 6.1 percent higher than the estimated sales rate of 278,000 units sold in August of 2010.
Last year was the worse year on record for new single-family home sales with only 323,000 homes sold. At the end of August last year, 232,000 new single-family homes had been sold. Through the end of August this year, 212,000 new homes have been sold, a decline of 8.3 percent.
Year-to-date, sales are 32.9 percent lower in the Northeast, 7.8 percent lower in the Midwest, 4.8 percent lower in the South, and 6.8 percent lower in the West than they were during the same period last year.
The median sales price of the new homes sold in August was $209,100, which was down from $222,000 in July. The average sales price for a new home in August was 246,000, down from $272,300 in July. Seventy-four percent of the new single-family homes sold in August were under $300,000.
Prices are also below last years levels with the median home price in August of last year being $226,000 and the average sales price being $268,800.
Only the Midwest region experienced a gain in monthly new home sales from July to August with the annual rate of sales increasing 8.2 percent. The South and the West posted declines of 2.4 percent and 6.3 percent, respectively, while the Northeast had the largest decline of 13.6 percent
Compared to a year ago, the annual rate of new single-family home sales in the South and the Midwest increased 9.3 and 65.6 percent, respectively, while the West and the Northeast posted declines of 10.6 and 36.7 percent, respectively.
Inventory of new single-family homes remained relatively balanced by historic standards with a seasonally adjusted 162,000 homes available for sale, which translates into a 6.6 months supply of inventory.