Data from the U.S. Census Bureau found new home sales went up by 14% in September but the numbers still remain below where they were at the same time last year.

The Census Bureau focuses on new single-family home sales and it found that a total of 800,000 units were sold in the last month. This was up from the 702,000 homes that were sold in August, but still below last September when 971,000 sales were made.

According to the data, the average sale price of the homes in September was $451,700. It also estimates that September ended with 379,000 remaining homes still being available for sale.

This report follows an earlier one from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) which estimated that existing home sales last month rose by 7%. This is half of what the Census Bureau estimates, but it is likely due to the NAR examining a wider subset of home sales. The trade group chalked up the increase to an expansion of the housing supply amid a ravenous demand for new homes.

The U.S. housing market has been saddled with a mix of problems that both predate and were exasperated by COVID-19. Supply has been constrained, owing to pre-pandemic labor shortages and disruptions of global supply chains that have pushed prices for building materials higher. At the same time, demand has remained ahead of supply, which together with the higher costs of home construction has driven final prices only higher. 

Homebuilders, however, were recently found to be optimistic in their sentiments about the housing market. The affordability of homes remains their core concern, but the high prices and steadily advancing supply have given them a reason to be positive about the market.