The headline shows a decline but the message from the July new home sales report is nevertheless mostly positive. New home sales slipped 1.7 percent in the month to a 627,000 annualized rate that misses Econoday's consensus by 22,000 and the Econoday's low estimate by 3,000. Revisions are neutral with June revised 7,000 higher to 638,000 but with May revised 12,000 lower to 654,000.
Now the good news. Supply moved into the market, up 2.0 percent to 309,000 new homes for sale which is the best showing since 2009. More homes for sale gives buyers more choices in what will be a likely positive for sales in the coming months. Relative to sales, supply is at 5.9 months vs 5.7 and 5.5 in the two prior months.
Another positive is a rise in prices, up a sharp 6.0 percent on the month to a median $328,700 for what is still, however, a modest 1.8 percent year-on-year increase.
Regional data show both the West and Midwest posting strong monthly gains with yearly rates at 18.5 percent and 18.2 percent respectively. The yearly rate for the South is at 17.2 percent with, however, the Northeast, which is by far the smallest region for new housing, down nearly 50 percent.
The overall year-on-year rate of growth is at 12.8 percent which if sustained would point to a badly needed uplift for the housing sector in general going into the second-half of what has been a very subdued 2018.
New home sales have been struggling to move higher but forecasters do see strength for July, at a consensus annualized rate of 649,000 vs 631,000 in June. Prices were down in the June report while supply moved into the market, both positive indications for the July report.