Sales of new single-family homes had their second-worst month on record in August, with transactions falling to a 288,000 seasonally adjusted annual rate, according to figures released by the Commerce Department.
August's new home sales were unchanged from July but fell 29% from the same month a year earlier.
The month’s supply of new homes on the market ticked lower to 8.6 months from 8.7 previously.
In July new home sales fell 7.7%, but only after being originally reported by the government as a 12.4% drop.
Thanks to that revision and others, the new home market looks a little sturdier with the addition of 15,000 sales in June and May.
Despite the revisions, sales of new homes are still at historically low levels. Builders are pessimistic about the outlook and remain unclear about when the market will recover.
Barclays Capital analysts noted: "The downside surprise in today's report was concentrated in the Midwest and South, which experienced declines of 26.1% and 10.8% on a monthly basis, respectively. However, new home sales in the West (54.3%) and the Northeast (16.7%) completely offset the decreases in the Midwest and South."
Barclays called the results "disappointing" but said, "We believe new home sales are close to a bottom and will recover gradually in the coming months."