The United States Census reported Tuesday that new-home sales for July were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 515,000 units. The Census, having revised June’s data down from an initially reported 530,000 single-family sales to just 503,000 units, claims home sales increased 2.4 percent in July.

But month-to-month comparisons, thanks to the volatility in revisions to the data, are nearly meaningless. Compared to last July’s annualized sales pace of 796,000 units, July 2008’s single-family new-home sales are down 35.3 percent. Sales in July 2006 were recorded at an annualized pace of 1.12 million units, while sales in July 2005 were logged at a seasonally adjusted 1.37 million.

The one sliver of good news from Tuesday’s Census report is that sales picked up 38.9 percent in the Northeast, where sales increased to an annualized rate of 50,000 units. Sales in the West also increased, by 9.9 percent to 122,000 units.

But sales in the Midwest fell 8.2 percent to 67,000 annualized units, while new-home sales in the South declined 2.5 percent to a 276,000-unit pace.

As the market for home sales flounders, new-home prices continued their years-long slide in July. The median sales price of a new single-family home fell less than one percent to $230,700.

Inventory of new homes, which has been elevated since demand first started falling in 2005, is currently at 416,000 units, which represents 10.1 month’s supply at the current sales pace, the Census reported.

What do you think the U.S. Census will report for August’s new-home sales? Make your prediction at the BuilderOnline Prediction Center.