The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

September 25, 2013

US new-home sales jump 7.9 percent in August

— WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans stepped up purchases of new homes in August after cutting back in July, suggesting that higher mortgage rates are not yet slowing the housing recovery.

Sales of new homes increased 7.9 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 421,000, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. That comes after sales plunged 14.1 percent in July to a 390,000 annual rate.

The rebound in sales could ease worries that higher mortgage rates have started to dampen sales. It coincided with the best month of sales for previously occupied homes in more than six years. And homebuilders remain more confident in the market than they've been in eight years.

Still, some buyers may be racing to close deals before rates rise further. The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage has risen more than a full percentage point since May.

New-homes sales were 12.6 percent higher in August than a year ago, although the pace remains well below the 700,000 consistent with a healthy market.

The number of new homes available for sale rose 3.6 percent from July to 175,000. That's still relatively lean — at the August sales' pace it would take five months to exhaust the supply.

The median price of a new home sold in August fell 0.7 percent from July to $254,600.

Sales rose in all but one region of the country in August, increasing 19.6 percent in the Midwest, 15.3 percent in the South and 8.8 percent in the Northeast. Sales plunged 14.6 percent in the West, the second straight month of double-digit declines.

The housing market has been one of the strongest performers this year in an otherwise sluggish economy, helped by steady job gains, low mortgage rates and a limited supply of available homes for sale.

Sales of previously occupied homes rose in August to a seasonally adjusted 5.5 million annual pace, the National Association of Realtors reported last week. That's a healthy level and the highest in more than six years.

Text Only
State and Nation
Photos


Poll

Which foreign crisis is the biggest threat to the security of the United States?

Russia-Ukraine
Israel-Palestine
Iraq
None of the above
     View Results
Facebook
AP Video
Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast New Sanctions on Key Sectors of Russian Economy Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee