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Economy in Brief

New Home Sales Gain with Spurt in the West
by Carol Stone August 24, 2005

New single-family home sales rose 6.5% in July to 1.41 million units, following a 2.0% gain in June. Data for April through June were revised downward modestly, but July's figure is still well into record territory. The July sales volume is a substantial 27.7% higher than July 2004.

This latest increase was concentrated in the West, where sales jumped to 495,000 from 364,000 in June. Sales also rose in the Northeast, from 89,000 in June to 98,000; they were up nearly 72% from the July 2004 volume.

The median price of a new single family home declined for a third consecutive month, this time by 7.1%, to "just" $203,800. Prior months were revised slightly higher. The July drop occurred as accompanying data on price brackets showed that there were fewer sales of homes priced above $250,000 and more sales of homes under $150,000. This spread suggests a shift in demand toward the lower end of the market, rather than lower prices for similar homes.

The figures from the Census Department reflect home sales counted at the time of sales contract or deposit.

Homes Sales (000s, AR) July June Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
New Single-Family 1,410 1,324 27.7% 1,203 1,088 972
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