New home sales nosedive across the nation in July 

    More tough news for a sluggish national housing market as sales of new single-family homes declined more than expected in July, despite lower mortgage rates and a strong labor market, Reuters reports. 

    The Commerce Department said this morning that new home sales dropped 12.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 635,000 units last month. It was the biggest monthly decline since July 2013. 

    However, the government’s data on new home sales tends to be volatile and subject to large revisions. June’s sales pace was revised sharply higher to 728,000 units from the previously reported 646,000 units. New home sales last month were 4.3% higher than in July 2018. The median new house price was $312,800, down 4.5% from a year earlier 

    As reported earlier this week, Baton Rouge sales are also slowing, but the crawl comes at the same time as prices on area homes are rising. The median sales price for Baton Rouge area houses continues to climb, up nearly 4% year-to-date in July compared to last year, according to the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors. A big issue here: a low supply of entry-level houses priced below $350,000. Read a recent Daily Report story about the rise in prices, and the full Reuters report here.

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