However, economists were unusually pessimistic this month as the Econoday Consensus estimate was 598,000 sales.
Prices also declined. The median new home price is down 3.1% for the month and 5.4% from a year ago.
New home sales may have fallen back by a monthly 7.6 percent in August, but the 609,000 annualized rate is still above Econoday's consensus for 598,000. And a major plus in the report is a surprise 5,000 upward revision to July which now stands at a cycle high of 659,000 and a monthly gain from June of 13.8 percent. The volatility of this series had made a downward revision to July a major risk in today's report.