WASHINGTON -- The National Association of Home Builders reported that the pace of new single-family home sales dipped 4.3% in July to a seasonally adjusted rate of 1.072 million units. Sales pace was down 21.6% from the record monthly high set in July 2005. Year-to-date, actual new-home sales were down 14.2% compared with the first seven months of last year.

"The slowdown of demand has been on our builders' radar screens since the middle of last year," said David Pressly, president of the NAHB.

"The current downswing in home sales reflects both falling affordability and a pullout by investors/speculators that were a major factor behind the unsustainable pace of new home sales last year," said David Seiders, chief economist for the NAHB.

Sales were down in the Midwest by 21.3% and in the South by 8%, while sales pace in the West was up 11.7% and the Northeast was up 1.8%. All regions reported substantially lower sales year-to-date. At the end of July, the inventory of new homes for sale rose to 568,000 units, which is a 6.5 months' supply at the existing sales pace. Read more.

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