WASHINGTON — New home sales remained near a record low in August as they held at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 288,000 the second consecutive month, the Commerce Department reported Friday.

The annualized sales pace recorded in August and July is the second-lowest on record. The lowest was May’s 282,000.

Economists expected 290,000 home sales for the month, according to the median estimate from Thomson Reuters.

Inventories, which reflect both homes added and removed from the market, fell to a 42-year low of 206,000. The months’ supply of new home sales fell to 8.6 months from 8.7 in July.

The average median new home sale price fell 0.6% to $204,700 and was down 1.2% from a year ago. That’s the lowest level in more than six years.

“Fundamental support for new single-family home sales is turning out to be much lower than expectations as dismal consumer confidence and little job growth make buying a home an unattractive endeavor,” Ellen Beeson Zentner, an economist at the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd., said in a research note. “Home prices have yet to show an upward trend and the [Federal Reserve] has made it clear that it will do everything in its power to keep mortgage rates low for the foreseeable future, both of which are a disincentive to act now for would-be home buyers.”

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