New homes sales are on the upswing, but they still have a long way to go before they get back to normal.
In July, home builders sold new homes at an annual rate of 372,000, a 3.6 percent gain compared with the 360,000 sold in June and a 25.3 percent year-over-year increase, according to a Census Bureau report.
The number surpassed most industry expectations. Real estate analysts told Briefing.com they'd expected to see new home sales of 368,000 for the month. Last July, sales languished at a rate of 297,000.
While the increase is good news for home builders, new home sales still lag what is considered normal, according to David Crowe, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders. The average number of new homes sold between 1992 and 2001 was 772,000 units a year.
Just replacing homes lost to disaster and neglect requires that about 350,000 new homes a year are built, said Crowe.
The report followed other indicators that the housing market is recovering, albeit slowly. Existing home sales rose 2.6 percent in July and building permits also increased.