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New-Home Sales Rose 3.6 Percent in July

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New-Home Sales Rose 3.6 Percent in July

Sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 3.6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 372,000 units in July from an upwardly revised pace in the previous month, according to figures released by HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau this week.  Regionally, the Northeast posted the biggest gain in new-home sales with a 76.5% increase from an abnormal low recorded in June. The Midwest posted a 7.7% gain while the South and West registered marginal declines of 1.6% and 0.9%, respectively.

Noting that the three-month moving average of new-home sales has been edging up consistently since last September, NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe called the report "the latest indicator of a gradual, upward trend that we expect to continue through the remainder of this year.” However, he added that “The fact that the inventory of new homes for sale reached an all-time low in July is a worrisome signal that ongoing, unnecessarily tight credit conditions are keeping builders from being able to replenish supplies as consumer demand improves.” After trending downward for the past six years, the inventory of new homes for sale hit a record low of 142,000 units, which is a 4.6-month supply at the current sales pace. 

New Homes Are Better Insulated, Less Drafty

Recently released data from the government's Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) provide two more good reasons that builders can cite for why a newly built home is the best option for consumers. As reported in NAHB's Eye on Housing blog this week, newly built homes tend to be better insulated and less drafty -- characteristics that likely make them more comfortable and less expensive to operate. Specifically, the survey found that less than 30% of occupants of single-family detached homes built before 1960 believe their residences are well-insulated -- but that share increases regularly as survey participants' homes get newer, rising to 67% of occupants of homes built after 2004 who believe this is true. Another part of the RECS survey asked occupants if their homes are too drafty during the winter.  Looking specifically at homes built in colder climates, just 37% of those constructed before 1940 were described as "never drafty," while 81.4% of homes built after 2004 were described that way.
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  • Joanne Loftus
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