New-home sales on the rise

Rising sales of new homes indicate consumers are more confident in the housing market.

Sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 3.6 percent nationally in July to an annually adjusted rate of 372,000 units, according to a report released today by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau.

The three-month moving average of new-home sales has been rising consistently since September, said David Crow, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders.

“Today’s good report is the latest indicator of a gradual, upward trend that we expect to continue through the remainder of this year,” Crowe said. “However, the fact that the inventory of new homes for sale reached an all-time low in July is a worrisome signal that ongoing, unnecessarily tight credit conditions are keeping builders from being able to replenish supplies as consumer demand improves.”

Regionally, the Northeast posted the biggest gain in new-home sales with a 76.5 percent increase from July. The Midwest posted a 7.7 percent gain, while the South and the West recorded declines of 1.6 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively.