Explaining Southern California's economy

July new home sales in the West: Flat since June, but booming since 2011

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A construction worker in Petaluma, California. New homes sales in the West have surged since July of 2011, according the Commerce Dept.

The Commerce Department has released data on new home sales for July. For the West region, sales were flat from June, declining a blippy 0.9 percent. But compared with July 2011, sales have boomed, surging 69 percent. That's by far the best of any U.S. region and well above the July 2011-July 2012 increase for the nation as a whole.

In July, the West and South accounted for a majority new houses sold and for sale — 286,000, our of a U.S. total of 372,000. For those keeping track, the South is in the lead and has been for a while. 

The data indicates that the U.S. housing market is moving in the right direction. As we learned yesterday when the National Association of Realtors released July existing home sales data, we have a supply-and-demand problem with housing in the U.S and in the West in particular. Prices are being pushed up because there isn't enough housing inventory to meet demand.