The rate of new single-family home sales dropped about 10.2 percent in July and the median sales price rose 0.59 percent compared to the same month last year, the U.S. Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today.

Sales of new single-family houses in July 2007 reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about 870,000, compared with the July 2006 estimate of 969,000. The rate is calculated as a projection of the monthly sales total over a 12-month period, adjusted for seasonal fluctuations in sales activity.

The median sales price of new houses sold in July 2007 was $239,500, compared with a median price of $238,100 in July 2006. Meanwhile, the average price of new homes sold in July 2007 was $300,800, down 3.4 percent compared with the July 2006 average price of $311,300.

The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of July was 533,000, which represents a supply of 7.5 months at the current sales rate. A supply greater than six months is generally considered to indicate a buyer’s market.

Statistics are estimated from sample surveys and are subject to sampling variability as well as nonsampling error including bias and variance from response, nonreporting and undercoverage, the agencies noted.

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

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