Sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 3.5% in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 629,000 units after being revised down June and July reports, according to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and the US. Census Bureau.
These downward revisions suggest softness in new home sales activity this summer. However, on a year-to-date basis, sales are up 6.9% from this time in 2017. The National Association of Home Builders credits the rise to the overall strength of the economy but is cautious about future sales.
The NAHB says “Housing affordability has taken a toll on new home sales over the summer, and there could be market volatility in the months ahead as communities grapple with the after effects of Hurricane Florence,” Moody Analytics estimates the hurricane caused between US$17 billion and US$22 billion in flood damage in the Atlantic coast states of North and South Carolina.
Privately-owned housing starts in August were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,282,000. This is 9.2% above the revised July estimate of 1,174,000 and is 9.4% above the August 2017 rate of 1,172,000. Single-family housing starts in August were at a rate of 876,000 -- up 1.9% from the revised July figure.