MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP Economics Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. new home sales fell slightly in September with all regions of the country except the Midwest showing declines.
The Commerce Department reported Thursday that sales of new homes fell 0.7% last month following a big 6.2% surge in sales in August. Homes were sold at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 701,000, 15.5% higher than a year ago.
Many economists had expected sales to keep rising in September, reflecting declining mortgage rates and ultra-low unemployment.
However, the housing industry is combating a variety of factors that are holding back growth, ranging from a shortage of construction workers to a lack of available land for new homes.
The median price of a new home fell 7.9% last month to $299,400, down from an August price of $325,200.
The only region to post a sales gain was the Midwest where sales rose 6.3%. Sales in the West fell 3.8% and were down 2.8% in the Northeast and a slight 0.2% in the South.
The National Association of Realtors reported Wednesday that sales of previously owned homes, the biggest part of the market, fell 2.2% in September with rising prices and lower inventories blamed for the decline.
Homeowners in both the existing sales market and the new market have had to face a shortage of available properties this year, especially at the lower-priced end of the market.
The inventory of new homes for sale fell 0.6% September to 321,000, or a 5.5-months supply at the September sales pace.
Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.Tagged with Biggest News, new home sales