New homes account for biggest share of U.S. sales in 12 years

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Homebuyers are favoring newly built properties at the highest rate in more than a decade.

New homes accounted for more than 12% of sales in the year through July, the biggest share since June 2008, according to an analysis by John Burns Real Estate Consulting.

Americans rushing to take advantage of historically low mortgage rates are finding few previously owned homes to choose from because listings are so scarce. A growing share of buyers are turning to homebuilders, which are now left with a four-month supply of properties, the lowest since 2013.

"Homebuilders have their foot on the gas, and rightly so," said Rick Palacios Jr., research director at John Burns, which analyzed data from the government and the National Association of Realtors. "They've got a very unique window of opportunity to grow sales at a clip we haven't seen this whole recovery."

The share for new homes has climbed after bottoming at about 7% in the depths of the housing crash in 2011 and 2012. The rate was around 15% for much of the early 2000s.

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