July new home sales fall for 3rd straight month (by Greg Robb)
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch)-- Purchases of new home in the U.S. fell for the third straight month in July, the Commerce Department estimated Tuesday. New home sales fell 0.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 298,000. The drop was a surprise to analysts. The consensus forecast of economists surveyed by MarketWatch was for new home sales to rise 1% to 315,000. New-home sales in June fell a revised 2.9% to a 300,000 level compared with the previous estimate of a 1% fall to 312,000. New-home sales are up 6.8% compared with a year ago. The supply of new homes inched down 0.6% to a record low 165,000. The supply in relation to sales held steady at 6.6 months in July. Median sales prices have risen 4.7% in the past year to $222,000.