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New Home Sales Slip But “This Time Is Different”: CoreLogic’s Chief Economist

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Sales of new single-family homes fell 0.3% in August to an annual rate of 373,000, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.

The pace of sales last month was less than what most analysts had expected. Economists polled by Reuters predicted sales of 380,000. July sales were revised higher to 374,000 units from 372,000 units -- the fastest pace since August 2010.

CoreLogic chief economist Mark Fleming joined The Daily Ticker to discuss the numbers.

Related: More Good News on Housing But Hold the Champagne

"I think they were pretty good," says Fleming. "No change from July is a relatively good number and you know we are still slowly growing out of the very very low troughs of a year or so ago."

Although the August figures are down slightly from the previous month, "we expect sales, new and existing, to slow down as we head into the off season at this time of the year," adds Fleming.

New homes sales are up nearly 30% from a year ago.

Meanwhile, U.S. home prices continue to rise. In July, home prices rose 1.6% following a 2.3% increase the month before, according to the latest S&P Case-Shiller data reported Tuesday.

Related: Home Prices Are Rising But There's Still No Rush to Buy: Robert Shiller

For the last four years, every spring has seen an improvement in housing data, followed by a major downturn in the fall and winter months. As housing data continues to improve, it is no surprise that the the question being asked over and over again is whether or not the housing market has finally bottomed.

"This time is different," says Fleming. "We are more hopeful that the [the recovery] is more sustainable because it is predicated on fundamental balance in the housing market itself."

If you are thinking about buying a home, he says now is a good time to do so.

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