New single-family home sales in June declined 5.3% month to month vs. a 3.9% increase the month before. This is the lowest level since October 2017. The home sales numbers are in line with the general weakening in economic activity. The median selling price declined to the lowest in more than a year, adding to signs the housing market is getting more difficult.
Demand weakened in three of four U.S. regions, including a 7.7% drop in the South, the largest area. The decline in sales left 301,000 homes available nationwide in June, the most since March 2009. Sales fell 5.2% in the West and tumbled 13.4% in the Midwest. They surged 36.8% in the Northeast.
The Trump administration in April 2017 imposed anti-subsidy duties on imports of Canadian softwood lumber, which builders say have significantly raised the cost of a new home.
The combination of a difficult housing market and the imposition of tariffs on the automobile sector is very worrisome. It could easily generate a jump in unemployment, erasing all the gains made over the past few years.