Sales of new U.S. single-family homes rose to a six-year high in September, but a sharp downward revision to August’s sales pace indicated that the housing recovery remains fragile.
The Commerce Department said on Friday that sales increased 0.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 467,000 units, the highest reading since July 2008. August’s sales pace was revised down to 466,000 units from 504,000 units.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast new home sales at a 470,000-unit pace last month.
New home sales, which account for about 8 percent of the housing market, tend to be volatile month to month and large
revisions are not unusual. Compared to September last year, sales were up 17 percent.
Housing is slowly regaining its footing after activity stalled in the second half of 2013 as mortgage rates soared.
With the 30-year fixed mortgage rate this week falling to its lowest level since June of last year, sales could pick up.
Slow wage growth, however, remains a constraint. Data this week showed sales of previously-owned homes touched a one-year high in September.
Last month, new home sales fell 8.9 percent in the West, handing back some of August’s 28.1 percent surge. In the
populous South, sales rose 2.0 percent, while they increased 12.3 percent in the Midwest. Sales were flat in the Northeast.