New homes sales rise for second straight month in August

SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — Sales of new homes in the U.S. rose modestly in August as rising prices continue to sideline potential buyers.

Sales of new homes last month rose 1.5%, the Commerce Department reported Friday, reaching a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 740,000. That follows July’s increase, which came after three consecutive declines in April, May and June as builders grappled with surging lumber prices and a shortage of workers.

Prices for new homes also ticked up in August. The median price for a new home rose $400 to $390,900.

Builders have been hit with rising costs and shortages of building materials and labor have rippled through the construction industry. Delays are common, prompting many builders to pump the brakes on the number of new homes they put up for sale. As building a new home gets more expensive, some of those costs are passed along to buyers.

The National Association of Realtors said this week that sales of previously occupied U.S. homes fell in August and soaring prices eased a bit from what’s been a torrid pace.