The U.S. Census Bureau this morning released data on new single-family home sales for July. Economists had been expecting a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 365,000, and were pleasantly surprised by a reported increase to 372,000, up 3.6% from a revised total of 359,000 in June. Compared with July 2011, the number is up 25.3% from last year’s estimate of 297,000.
The Census Bureau also reported that the median sales price for new homes sold in July was $224,200 and the average sales price was $263,200. In June, the median sales price for a new house was $232,600 and the average sales price was $273,900.
At the end of July the number of new homes for sale totaled 142,000, a supply of 4.6 months, matching the number posted in May for the lowest inventory in the past 12 months.
The Mortgage Bankers Association reported yesterday that mortgage applications for purchases rose by nearly 1% last week. The average contract interest rate for a 30-year fixed rate conforming mortgage also rose to 3.86% last week.