The Commerce Department said on Thursday that sales of new, single-family homes increased 3.6% in July, hitting a seasonally adjusted annual sales pace of 372,000 units.
That equaled April’s sales pace, which was the highest in two years. It also topped the 365,000 unit annual sales pace forecast by economists, Reuters noted.
Despite the increased sales pace, prices for new homes fell to a median of $224,200 last month, down 2.5% from last year.
The government said that home sales rose sharply in Northeastern states, up 76.5% from last year.
Inventories of new home also slipped 0.7% to 142,000 in July. At last month’s sales rate, the inventory would be depleted in 4.6 months.
New home sales figures for June were revised upward from previous estimates of a sales pace of 350,000 units, to a rate of 359,000 units. Better still, new home sales in July jumped 25.3% over the same time last year.
Yesterday, the National Association of Realtors reported that existing home sales rose 2.3% in July, but missed economists’ estimates.
Home-builder stocks took Thursday’s new home sales data in stride. Shares of Ryland Group (NYSE:RYL), D.R. Horton (NYSE:DHI) and Toll Brothers (NYSE:TOL) were mostly flat in morning trading.