February New Home Sales Lagged Slightly Behind Forecasts

Sales of new single-family houses in February were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 440,000 – about 3.3% below the revised January rate of 455,000 and 1.1% below the February 2013 rate of 445,000, according to figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The median sales price of new houses sold in February was $261,800; the average sales price was $317,500. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of February was 189,000. This represents a supply of 5.2 months at the current sales rate.

‘There is no doubt that the persistently bad weather took a toll on sales in February,’ says Kevin Kelly, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Wilmington, Del., in a statement. ‘However, builders continued to increase their inventory of for-sale homes, indicating they still anticipate a relatively strong spring buying season.’

‘We still expect 2014 will be a strong year for housing,’ adds David Crowe, chief economist for NAHB. ‘The first two-month average of 2014 is exactly in line with where 2013 left off. If not for the unusual weather, we would easily be ahead of last year's pace. We also continue to see household formations and pent-up demand driving sales forward.’

Regionally, new home sales activity fell 32.4% in the Northeast, 1.5% in the South and 15.9% in the West. The Midwest posted a gain of 36.7%, due mainly to an unusually low January figure.


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