New-home sales increased about 9.4 percent from July to August, but are down 0.4 percent from August 2003, the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reported today. Those percentages carry error margins of 12.3 percent and 11.4 percent, respectively.

Sales of new single-family homes reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.18 million in August. The seasonally adjusted annual rate projects the sales volume for a single month over a 12-month period.

The median sales price of new homes sold in August 2004 was $208,900 and the average sales price was $267,000. In July, the median sales prices of new single-family houses sold was $207,400 and the average price was $274,200.

The seasonally adjusted estimate for new houses for sale at the end of August was 404,000, which represents a supply of 4.2 months at the current sales rate. In August 2003, there were 344,000 homes for sale at the end of the month, which represented a 3.5-month supply.

A supply of 6 months is generally considered to be an equilibrium between a buyer’s market and a seller’s market, while a supply of less than six months is generally considered to be a seller’s market.

Seasonally adjusted new-home sales slumped most significantly in the Midwest from August 2003 to August 2004, dropping an estimated 13.3 percent, with an error margin of 22.7 percent. And sales were up 13.7 percent in the West in that time, with a 21 percent error margin. In the Northeast, seasonally adjusted sales were down 7.9 percent from August 2003 to August 2004, plus or minus 23.6 percent, and were down 1.5 percent in the South, plus or minus 17.7 percent.

From July to August of this year, seasonally adjusted sales totals dropped off 8.3 percent in the Midwest, plus or minus 20.5 percent, but gained in all other regions of the country. Sales were up 19.5 percent in the West, plus or minus 27 percent.

***

Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to glenn@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 137.

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