Sales of new, single-family homes jumped 11% in June to an annual pace of 384,000, the Commerce Department reported Monday.
The median price, however, fell 5.8% to $206,200 from $219,000 in May and 12% from $234,300 in June, 2008. The average price was virtually flat with May at $276,900 but down 7.5% from last June. The majority of actual homes sold were priced at under $300,000; nearly half were under $200,000.
The sales increase came on top of an upwardly revised annual estimate for May, which the Commerce Department took up to 346,000 from the 342,000 originally reported.
Inventory fell to 281,000, an 8.8-month supply, down from 10.2 months in May.
The gains were led by the Midwest, which was up 43.1% sequentially and 5.8% year-over-year. The Northeast was up 29.2% from May but off 11.4% from last June. The West was up 22.6% from May but down 9.6% from June, 2008. The South was down all around, -5.3% sequentially and -34.4% year-over-year.
A total of 36,000 homes were sold for the month, not seasonally adjusted, with 16,000 of them completed units and 10,000 each not yet started or under construction. Among the unsold homes that make up the inventory component of the report, 128,000 are listed as completed units with 113,000 under construction and 41,000 not yet started.
Home builder stocks took off on the news, led by Orleans (AMEX:OHB), which soared 47% in heavy early trading before settling back to $2 by 11:15 a.m., up 22.7%. Other big gainers included Beazer (NYSE:BZH), up 10.8% at $2.87; Standard Pacific (NYSE:SPF), up 8.6% at $3.39; and Hovnanian Enterprises (NYSE:HOV), up 7.7% at $3.07.