Sales of new, single-family homes were up about 6.2 percent from August 2004 to August 2005, while the median sales price increased 1 percent, the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales was 1,237,000 in August, or about 9.9 percent below the revised July rate of 1,373,000. The seasonally adjusted annual rate projects a monthly sales total over a 12-month period, accounting for seasonal fluctuations in sales.

The median sales price of new houses sold in August 2005 was $220,300; the average sales price was $283,400, or 4.1 percent above the average sales price in August 2004.

The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of August was 479,000. This represents a supply of 4.7 months at the current sales rate.

Regionally, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of new houses sold and for sale increased about 16.4 percent in the Northeast, 13.1 percent in the South, 3.8 percent in the West, and dropped 10.6 percent in the Midwest from August 2004 to August 2005, according to sales data.

Statistics are estimated from sample surveys and are subject to sampling variability as well as non-sampling error including bias and variance from response, non-reporting, and under-coverage.

Changes in seasonally adjusted statistics often show irregular movement. It takes six months to establish a trend for new houses sold, according to the sales report.

Preliminary new home sales figures are subject to revision due to the survey methodology and definitions used. The survey is primarily based on a sample of houses selected from building permits. Since a “sale” is defined as a deposit taken or sales agreement signed, this can occur prior to a permit being issued. On average, the preliminary seasonally adjusted estimate of total sales is revised about 3 percent.

Changes in sales price data reflect changes in the distribution of houses by region, size, etc., as well as changes in the prices of houses with identical characteristics.

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

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