Last month, new single-family homes were snapped up in numbers not seen since before the Great Recession, following the pace of existing-home sales, which also hit a 14-year high in August.
There were 1.01 million newly-built homes sold in August, according to the Census Bureau’s monthly report, which tracks signed contracts and paid deposits. That’s the highest number of sales reported since December 2006, when sales reached an adjusted rate of 1.1 million new homes sold.
August’s numbers represent a 4.8 percent increase over the revised July rate of 965,000 sales and a 43 percent year-over-year jump. The median sales price was $312,800.
More than 70 percent of last month’s sales were homes that are under construction or still in the planning stages, according to the report’s preliminary seasonally adjusted numbers.
The majority of homes were sold in the southern region of the country with 636,000 new homes finding buyers, a 13 percent increase compared to July, seasonally adjusted. The northeast region saw a 5 percent increase in sales compared to the previous month. The story was a bit different elsewhere: The midwest region saw sales fall by 21 percent, while western sales numbers were flat.
The report estimated there were 282,000 new homes on the market by the end of August, which would take 3.3 months to sell based on August’s sales rate.
The surge in sales comes as housing supply hits a 40-year low, driving up prices. Higher price tags don’t appear to be scaring off buyers: The number of mortgage applications for increasingly larger loans to purchase homes have been steadily rising for more than four months.