Sales of new single-family homes weakened in June as the seasonally adjusted annual sales rate fell to 834,000 units, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Last month’s sales rate is down approximately 6.6 percent from the revised May rate of 893,000 and is approximately 22.3 percent below the 1.07 million-unit rate a year ago.

The median sales price of new houses sold in June was $237,900, a decrease of approximately 2.2 percent from $243,200 posted a year ago. The average sales price, however, rose to $316,200 last month, up nearly 3.7 percent from the year-ago average of $305,000.

At the end of June, the seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale was 537,000, which represents a supply of 7.8 months at the current sales rate. This compares to a supply of 565,000 new homes up for sale a year ago, which was a 6.4 months’ supply. A supply greater than six months can be indicative of a buyer’s market.

By region, the West posted the largest decrease in new-home sales from a year ago, with the seasonally adjusted annual rate falling from 276,000 in June 2006 to 158,000 in June 2007 — a nearly 43 percent drop.

The Midwest new-home sales rate at 121,000 was off 28.4 percent compared to a year earlier when the sales rate was 169,000 units, while sales in the South were down 12.9 percent over the last year, falling from a 566,000 rate to a 493,000 rate. Sales in the Northeast were unchanged from last year at 62,000 units.

Statistics are estimated from sample surveys and are subject to sampling variability and errors such as bias and variance from response, nonreporting and undercoverage, the agencies noted.

Changes in seasonally adjusted statistics can show irregular movement, according to the report, and it can take five months to establish a trend for new houses sold. On average, the preliminary seasonally adjusted estimate of total sales is revised about 3 percent.

Also, changes in sales-price data reflect changes in the distribution of houses by region, size, etc., and changes in the prices of houses with identical characteristics.

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