Sales of new single-family homes ticked up 1% in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 708,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development. Still, the rate was 27.2% below the July 2020 estimate of 972,000.
Analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting 700,000 new homes sold. The June reading was revised higher by 25,000 to 701,000.
New home sales, which account for about 10% of the housing market, had previously fallen for every month in 2021 as buyers had grappled with a shortage of inventory and record-high prices.
Prices continued higher last month as the median sales price of new houses sold during the month reached $390,500, up from $370,200 in June. A year ago, the median price was $336,900.
The increase in new home sales comes a day after existing home sales last month rose more than expected to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.99 million.
Total housing inventory rose for a sixth straight month in July, climbing 7.3% to 1.32 million units, according to the National Association of Realtors. Still, that was 12% below the year-ago level of 1.5 million.