New-home sales declined more than expected in July, fanning the flames yet again around concerns that the U.S. housing market is in a slump. But the latest report from the Census Bureau on new construction sales not only contained some bright spots of its own, but also came amid other strong housing data released earlier in the week.
July’s housing starts data showed overall homebuilding activity was down 12.8 percent from the prior month, but slightly above year-ago levels and growing faster among the single-family sector. With the sales of newly built homes coming in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 635,000, activity was about 4.3 percent above July 2018. As Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors noted, the annual numbers are in some ways more helpful, due to the cyclical nature of real estate.
“One month of data does not make a trend, so looking at the year-to-date figures show that newly constructed home sales are up 4 percent while existing-home sales are down 3 percent,” said Yun.
Economists were expecting new-home sales to finish stronger in July, aided by low mortgage rates that act as an incentive for buyers. According to Reuters, economists were anticipating new-home…