Sales of newly built U.S. single-family homes rose for a fourth straight month in July to set their fastest pace since last September, while the inventory of unsold homes fell to the lowest level in 16 years, a government report showed on Wednesday.
The Commerce Department said sales rose 9.6 percent to a 433,000 annual pace, the highest in ten months, from an upwardly revised 395,000 in June. That was the biggest monthly percentage gain since a matching increase in February 2005.
Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast a 390,000 rate. The median home sales price in July fell 11.5 percent to $210,100 from a year earlier, the department said. Compared to June, the median price slipped 0.1 percent.
The inventory of homes available for sale in July fell 3.2 percent to 271,000 units, the lowest since March 1993, the department said. July's sales pace left the supply of homes available for sale at 7.5 months' worth, the lowest since April 2007.
(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrew Hay)