WASHINGTON — New home sales fell 12.4% in July to a record low of 276,000 sales at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.
The pace of new home sales in June was revised down to 315,000 from the initially reported 330,000.
May sales were revised higher to 281,000 from 267,000. Economists expected an annual pace of 330,000 new home sales in July, according to the median estimate from Thomson Reuters.
Those annual rates compare with an average of 685,000 new home sales a year since the series began in 1963, when the U.S. population was 189 million. It’s now 309 million.
New home sales in all four regions declined in July. Sales in the West fell to a record low.
The median sales price dropped 4.8% from a year ago to $204,000, the lowest median price since December 2003. The sales price declined 6.0% from June.
The months supply of new homes increased to 9.1 months from 8.0 months in June.
Residential sales have waned since federal credits for new purchases expired April 30, though some deals were allowed to percolate through the system and did not close until the end of September.
“Now that the credits are behind us, the dust is settling, and the news is not good,” IHS Global Insight economist Patrick Newport said in a research note. “July’s record low new home sales figures and weekly data from the Mortgage Bankers Association on purchase applications indicate that housing demand is extremely weak — weaker than it has been since the housing downturn began in late 2005. Both measures imply that existing home sales, as bad as they were during July, will be just as bad in August.”