New home sales came in at an annualized rate of 298,000 units in July, a slight decline from the prior month, and a sign that ultra low mortgage rates are still not moving sales off their Depression levels.

The reading, lower than what most analysts anticipated, marks a five-month low for the beleaguered housing industry, according to government figures released Tuesday morning.

Still, there were some positives in the number: compared to the same month a year ago, sales were up by almost 7%, and the inventory of new homes available for purchase came in at 6.6 months. In July 2010 inventories were much higher at a nine-month supply.

In 2009 and 2010 roughly 375,000 and 323,00 new homes, respectively, were bought.
As for new home values, the average sales price in July was $272,300 compared to $272,900 for all of last year.

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