According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. sales of newly built, single-family homes fell 5.3 percent in June 2018, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 631,000 units after a downwardly revised May 2018 report.
"Uncertainty caused by tariffs and the talk of trade wars are making home buyers more cautious, and builders are taking note of this situation," said Randy Noel, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders. "Not only are consumers and builders concerned about the current lumber tariffs, but also the next round of proposed tariffs on a number of goods and services."
"Though this is the lowest monthly annualized sales pace since October 2017, new home sales for the first half of 2018 are up 6.9 percent on a year-to-date basis compared to last year," said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. "This indicates solid demand for new home construction."
A new home sale occurs when a sales contract is signed or a deposit is accepted. The home can be in any stage of construction: not yet started, under construction or completed. In addition to adjusting for seasonal effects, the June reading of 631,000 units is the number of homes that would sell if this pace continued for the next 12 months.
The inventory of new homes for sale was 301,000 in June, which is a 5.7-month supply at the current sales pace. The median sales price was $302,100.
Regionally, new home sales rose 36.8 percent in the Northeast. Sales fell 13.4 percent in the Midwest, 7.7 percent in the South and 5.2 percent in the West.
According to new U.S. housing market research by Zillow, the combination of rising home prices and interest rates creates a doubly challenging environment for would-be home buyers, making monthly mortgage payments on even modestly priced homes more of a financial burden.
Sales of newly built, single-family homes inched down 1.7 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 627,000 units after an upwardly revised June report. On a year-to-date basis, sales are up 7.2 percent from this time last year.
According to a new report from the Mortgage Bankers Association, U.S. mortgage credit availability increased in June 2018. A decline in the MCAI indicates that lending standards are tightening, while increases in the index are indicative of loosening credit.