The sales rate of newly built single-family homes rose 9.6 percent from June to July but fell 13.4 percent from a year ago, the U.S. Census Bureau reports.

At the regional level, sales picked up an estimated 32.4 percent from June to July in the Northeast, 16.2 percent in the South, and 1 percent in the West. New-home sales dropped 7.6 percent from June in the Midwest.

The 433,000 new homes sold represented the third-lowest sales figure for July in records dating to 1963, according to the blog Calculated Risk.

Nevertheless, the slow pace of new-home construction means that the inventory of new homes continues to shrink.

At the pace of sales in July, the estimated 271,000 new homes on the market represented 7.5 months of supply, down from 8.5 months in June and 12.4 months in January, the Census Bureau said. A six-month supply of homes is generally considered to represent an even balance between supply and demand.

The median sales price of a new home in July was $210,100, down 11 percent from a year ago.


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