WASHINGTON — Turmoil in the mortgage finance system in August led to an 8.3% drop in sales of new single-family homes for the month, according to figures released by the U.S. Commerce Department. The seasonally adjusted annual rate of 795,000 units was 21.2% below figures from a year earlier.

“As our surveys have been showing, the credit crunch continues to take a heavy toll on consumers and builders alike,” said Brian Catalde, president of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a homebuilder from El Segundo, CA.

“Today’s report shows that the supply-demand imbalance in the single-family housing market still is quite serious, and the imbalance clearly is putting downward pressure on home prices,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Seiders.

The median price of new homes sold in August was $225,700, 7.5% below a year earlier, the U.S. Commerce Department reported.

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