Sales of new U.S. homes fell in June by the largest amount in five months as the U.S. housing industry continued to struggle with its worst downturn in 16 years. The median home price also fell.
The U.S. Commerce Department reported that sales of new single-family homes dropped by 6.6% last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 834,000 units. The decline was more than triple what had been expected and was the largest percentage drop since sales fell by 12.7% in January. Sales are now 22.3% below the level of a year ago.
The median price of a new home sold last month dropped to US$237,900, down by 2.2% from a year ago. It was the biggest year-over-year price drop since a 6.5% fall in April. The median price is the point where half the homes sold for more and half for less.
By region of the country, new home sales fell by 27.1% in the Northeast, 22.5% in the West and 17.1% in the Midwest. Only the South saw an increase in sales, a gain of 7.6%.
The Commerce Department also said that orders for big-ticket manufactured products increased by 1.4% last month, the best showing since a 5.1% increase in March. Orders had declined by 2.3% in May.
Sectors showing weakness in May, though, inculded primary metals, including steel, which dropped by 3.6% and computers and electronic products, down 4.6%. (AP)