WASHINGTON – Sales of new homes posted the biggest increase in five months in August, raising hopes that the steep slide in the housing industry may be leveling off.
Sales of new single-family homes increased by 4.1 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.05 million units, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. It was the biggest increase since an 8 percent gain in March.
The August rise followed a 7.5 percent plunge in sales in July, which had registered the third straight decline.
The gain was far better than the 3 percent decline economists had been expecting and could signal that housing is beginning to level off after a steep slide. However, the price of homes sold in August fell to $237,000, down 1.3 percent from August 2005. It was the biggest year-over-year price decline in more than three years.