The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development delivered their joint report on housing starts for the month of August today — and with it, another mixed bag for the housing market. After reporting slower-than-expected new home starts in July, the agencies said sales of new single-family homes climbed 5.7 percent to 552,000 above a revised July rate of 522,000.

  • Sales of new single-family homes climbed 5.7 percent to 552,000 above a revised July rate of 522,000.
  • Privately owned housing units authorized by building permits in August climbed 3.5 percent to nearly 1.2 million.
  • Privately-owned housing starts in August were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.126 million, a 3-percent drop since July’s estimated 1.161 million.

The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development delivered their joint report on housing starts for the month of August today — and with it, another mixed bag for the housing market.

After reporting slower-than-expected new home starts in July, the agencies said sales of new single-family homes climbed 5.7 percent to 552,000 above a revised July rate of 522,000. That’s not only the highest result for new single-family home sales reported since 2008, but it’s also a 21.6-percent increase above the August 2014 estimate of 454,000.

In other good news, privately owned housing units authorized by building permits in August climbed 3.5 percent to nearly 1.2 million above July’s revised rate of 1.13 million, which is also 12.5 percent above August 2014’s estimate of 1.04 million.

Single-family authorizations in August rose 2.8 percent to 699,000 above July’s revised figure of 680,000; authorizations of units in buildings with five or more units were at a rate of 440,000.

Privately-owned housing completions were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 935,000, a decline of 6.1 percent compared to July’s revised estimate of 996,000, but was still 3.3 percent above the 905,000 completions reported in the same period last year.

Single-family housing completions in August were at a rate of 646,000, a 1.6-percent increase over July’s revised rate of 636,000. The August rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 283,000.

The agencies included a bit of disappointing news in the way of housing starts, however. Privately-owned housing starts in August were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.126 million, a 3-percent drop since July’s estimated 1.161 million, but still 16.6 percent above the 966,000 reported in the same period last year. Single-family housing starts were at a rate of 739,000, also a 3-percent decrease over July’s revised figure of 762,000. The August rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 381,000.

The median sales price of new houses sold in August was $292,700; the average sales price was $353,400.

The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of August was 216,000. This represents a supply of 4.7 months at the current sales rate, the agencies said.

Email Amy Swinderman.

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