Jeremy Levine design Sales of new single-family homes in the US fell in July to the lowest level in nine months, according to figures released today by the Commerce Department.

Sales decreased 13.4 percent monthly to an annual rate of 394,000 units. The decline from June to July was the biggest since May 2010.

Sales numbers extending back to April were revised down. The annual rate in June was adjusted to 455,000, down from a previously reported 497,000 pace.

Transactions for new single-family residences dropped in all four regions last month, with the biggest decrease in the West, at 16.1 percent. The median price of a new home rose 8.3 percent year-over-year in July to $257,200.

“The thing that continues to be a little bit puzzling is that builder confidence is still very high and that’s in the face of lower volumes,” Jacob Oubina, a senior U.S. economist at RBC Capital Markets LLC in New York, told Bloomberg. “They’re still pretty confident about the backdrop. That gives us a little bit of optimism going into the next few months.”

Sales of previously owned residences swelled 6.5 percent to a 5.39 million annualized rate in July, according to data released this week from the National Association of Realtors. New-home sales, which are recorded when purchase contracts are signed, are considered a more up-to-date reflection of the market than sales of previously owned homes, which are noted when a sale is final.

Photo: Jeremy Levine Design/Flickr

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