New home sales surged in June to the highest level since May of 2008. According to the Commerce Department, the number of single-family homes that sold last month rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 497,000. That equated to a 35% increase over the same month last year and an 8.3% uptick from May.
The news provided a welcome relief after data earlier this week showed that existing-home sales dipped slightly during June. The National Association of Realtors reported on Monday that previously occupied single-family home sales dipped by 1.1% on a seasonally adjusted annual basis last month compared to May. Though, on a year-over-year basis, they were up by 14.5%.
Meanwhile, the Commerce Department said the median price of a new home fell last month by nearly 5% to $249,700, down from $262,800 in May. The most recent data on the existing-home front showed that prices rose by 0.7% in May over April and by 7.3% relative to the same month last year. It was the 16th consecutive month of year-over-year price increases.
Somewhat less optimistically, the housing market continues to be plagued by tight supply. At the current sales rate, the supply of new homes for sale equates to only a 3.9-month supply, down from 4.1 months in May. This is the lowest level in nearly a decade and goes a long way toward explaining the year-over-year increases in home prices. To read more about the housing inventory conundrum, click here.
Shares of homebuilders are trading lower on the news thanks presumably to the sequential price comparison. At the time of writing, D.R. Horton (NYSE:DHI) is off by 1.15%, PulteGroup (NYSE:PHM) by 1.55%, Lennar Corp. (NYSE:LEN) by 3.66%, and Toll Brothers (NYSE:TOL) by 3.46%. While all of these companies have seen their volumes pick up over the past year, we should know a lot more about the current environment tomorrow, with the release of earnings from D.R. Horton and PutleGroup, the nation's two largest homebuilders.