New Home Sales Continue Rise
Increases in Both Monthly, Yearly Numbers
More and more serious homebuyers are entering the housing market, the National Association of Home Builders said.
Slightly more than 500,000 single-family homes were sold in August, a 5.7 percent hike compared to July, and a 21.6 percent jump year-to-year.
The median sales price of new houses sold in August was $292,700, while the average sales price was $353,400, the U.S. Census Bureau said in its latest sales report.
There were 216,000 new homes for sale in August, a level of inventory representing a 4.7-month supply at the current sales pace.
"We continue to hear from our members that more serious home buyers are returning to the market," Tom Woods, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders, said. "Builders are gradually adding inventory to meet future demand as they handle shortages of lots and labor."
"Today's report indicates the release of pent-up housing demand as the overall economy strengthens, consumer confidence grows and mortgage interest rates remain low," David Crowe, chief economist for the NAHB, said. "The housing market should continue to move forward at a modest but more persistent pace throughout the rest of 2015."
New data from the Associated General Contractors shows construction employment continues to lag well behind the demand for qualified building trades workers.
Employment in building trades jobs expanded in 36 states and the District of Columbia in August, compared to the same month in 2015. But only 25 states added jobs between July and August.
Job gains are lagging in most major regions of the nation and many firms are having a hard time finding qualified workers to employ, the AGC said.
"While half the states added construction jobs in August, construction spending data and industry reports suggest demand for projects remains very strong," Ken Simonson, chief economist for the AGC, said. "The apparent softness in hiring likely reflects contractors' difficulty in finding qualified workers."
California added 43,800 new jobs in August, compared to the same month in 2014, the best of any state. It represents a hike of 6.5 percent. Other states adding a high number of new construction jobs during the past 12 months include Florida, 25,700 jobs, 6.4 percent; North Carolina, 13,200 jobs, 7.4 percent; and Washington, 12,800 jobs, 8.0 percent.
Arkansas added the highest percentage of new construction jobs during the past year, up 13.6 percent, or 6,200 jobs. Others were: Idaho, up 10.0 percent, or 3,600 jobs; South Carolina, 9.1 percent, 7,500 jobs; and Iowa, 8.9 percent, 6,700 jobs.
Thirteen states shed construction jobs during the past 12 months. West Virginia lost 5,100 jobs, a decline of 15.1 percent. Other states that lost a high percentage of jobs for the year include Rhode Island, down 7.9 percent, 1,300 jobs; Mississippi, a decline of 7.4 percent, or 3,600 jobs; and Ohio, a cut of 5.7 percent, or 11,300 jobs.
Texas added the most construction jobs from July to August, 3,200 jobs for a 0.5 percent hike. Other states adding a high number of construction jobs include Ohio, 2,700 jobs, an increase of 1.5 percent; North Carolina up 1.4 percent or 2,700 jobs; and New York, an increase of 0.7 percent, or 2,600 jobs.
Iowa had the highest percentage of construction jobs added during the past month with 2,100 jobs, or up 2.6 percent. Others were: Utah, up 1.6 percent, 1,300 jobs; Georgia, an increase of 1.5 percent, 2,400 jobs; and Hawaii, a hike of 1.5 percent, 500 jobs.
The largest job losses occurred in Ohio, West Virginia, Mississippi and Indiana. Each of those states shed 3,600 jobs, a decline of 2.9 percent.
Twenty-four states and the District of Columbia lost construction jobs during the past month. Michigan lost 4,700 jobs, down 3.0 percent; Virginia shed 3,200 jobs, down 1.7 percent; New Mexico shed 2,300 jobs, a cut of 5.4 percent; and Washington dropped 2,000 jobs, a drop of 1.1 percent.