New U.S. single-family home sales unexpectedly fell in July, dropping to their lowest in seven months amid a surge in prices, raising concerns of a slowdown in the housing market recovery.
Coming on the heels of data this month showing a tumble in home building and permits in July, the weak sales pace suggests that housing could remain a drag on economic growth in the third quarter.
“The third-quarter sales data are starting out significantly below the second-quarter average, and many other housing reports have also shown some recent weakening in their respective trends,” said Daniel Silver, an economist at JPMorgan in New York. “Today’s report strengthens our conviction that real residential investment will decline in the third quarter.”
The Commerce Department said on Wednesday new home sales declined 9.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 571,000 units last month, the lowest level since December 2016. The percentage drop was the largest since August 2016 and confounded economists’ expectations for a 0.3 percent gain.