WASHINGTON — Sales of new single-family homes rose 3.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.15 million units in August, the U.S. Department of Commerce reported. This is the second-fastest pace for any month on record, and is only slightly off the all-time record pace of 1.18 million units set in June.

"Home builders were busy keeping up with demand all summer," noted Kent Conine, president of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). "Not only that, but third-quarter home sales are shaping up to be even stronger than the second quarter's numbers, despite somewhat higher mortgage rates."

"We're now looking at new home sales surpassing the million unit mark for the first year on record in 2003," stated David Seiders, NAHB’s chief economist. The association is forecasting 1.05 million new home sales this year, excluding custom homes built on the owner's lot.

Regionally, all but the South reported home sales gains in August. Sales rose the most in the Northeast and Midwest, where 12.5 percent and 12.9 percent gains were recorded, respectively. The West posted a 2.4 percent gain, while the South showed a 1.1 percent decline to a pace still faster than its second quarter average.

Publication date: 09/22/2003