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Midwest’s August new home sales drop, as U.S. sales rise


Sales in the western United States helped boost the country’s new home sales numbers in August even as other regions, including the Midwest, continued to struggle.

There were more new one-family home sales in August 2009 than in July – although sales still lagged behind August 2008 — as the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index showed its biggest gain since October 2005.

Sales of one-family houses in August were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 429,000, 0.7 percent above the July rate of 426,000, according to estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. (See the report)

The August 2009 rate was 3.4 percent below the one-year-ago estimate of 444,000.

In the Midwest, however, estimated sales in August 2009 were 49,000, which was down 5.8 percent from July’s estimate of 52,000, and down 31.9 percent from an estimated 72,000 sales in August 2008. Only the West showed an increase compared with July; an estimated 120,000 sales represented an increase of 12.1 percent. The South stayed even with July at 224,000 home sales, while the Northeast took the biggest hit, down 16.3 percent to 36,000 sales from 43,000.

The S&P/Case-Shiller home-price index fell 13.3 percent from a year prior, but that’s the smallest drop in 17 months, according to Bloomberg.com. Home values for July in the 20 cities that make up the index helped it rise 1.2 percent from June, and helped beat forecasts of a yearly drop of 14.2 percent. Of the 20 cities, Minneapolis posted the biggest gain from one month ago at 4.6 percent.

July was the third straight month the index gained, according to CNNMoney.com.

The Case-Shiller index compares the sale price of a home to its price the last time it was sold, then factors in changes in prices over time.

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