Sales of new single‐family houses in July 2019 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 635,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The rate was 12.8% below the revised June rate of 728,000, but was 4.3% above the July 2018 estimate of 609,000.

The median sales price of new houses sold in July 2019 was $312,800, up from $306,000 in June but down from $327,500 a year earliere. The average sales price was $388,000, up from $354,500 in June but down slightly from $392,300 in July, 2018.

The seasonally‐adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of July was 337,000. This represents a supply of 6.4 months at the current sales rate.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, sized up the data. "“New home sales plunged 12.8% in July, even as existing-home sales notched up a gain of 2.5%. 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% while existing-home sales are down 3%."

Yun continued, "It is worth keeping in mind that new home sales are not simply a reflection of demand, but perhaps more importantly of supply. If builders construct ten homes, then at maximum only ten new home sales are possible. Single-family housing starts this year are lower by 3%. The median days to complete a new home sale after completion has been reasonably swift in June at 3.4 months. Demand is clearly there; supply not."

He concluded, "One way to help new home construction is to lower the cost of construction. There are many angles, including zoning, land price, and labor availability. But material costs are also important."