The Commerce Department Friday morning reported a better-than-expected 0.6% drop in new single-family home sales in June, but an upward revision in the seasonally adjusted annual sales rate for May from 512,000 to 533,000 made June's rate of 530,000 seem palatable. Wall Street was expecting a decline of 1.4%.
Another bright spot in the numbers was the inventory of unsold homes, which fell back to a 10-months supply from 10.9 months in May, to 426,000.
Still, sales were 33.2% below June, 2007, which itself was down 6.6% from June, 2006. The median price seemed to stabilize in June at $230,900 vs. $231,000 in May, but June's average sales price of $298,600 was down substantially from $311,300 in May.
There was also positive news in the regional numbers, with the Northeast posting a 5.3% gain in sales over May and the Midwest showing a 2.5% gain. However, those regions remained 37.5% and 27.2%, respectively, below last June.
New single family sales were down 2% in the South, which remains down 33.4% from June, 2007, and the West was down 0.9%, 34.9% below a year ago.
The median months for sale of new single family homes increased to 8.4 in June from 8.2 in May, its highest level of the year.