After jumping 3.7% in January, new home sales in February were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about 592,000, an increase of 6.1% compared with about 558,000 in January and an increase of 12.8% compared with 525,000 in February 2016, according to estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
It was the fifth consecutive month that new home sales increased on a month-over-month basis.
The median sales price of a new home sold in February was $296,200. The average sales price was $390,400.
As of the end of the month, there were about 266,000 new homes available for sale – about a 5.4-month supply at the current sales rate.
“February’s increase in new home sales is consistent with builders’ growing confidence in the housing market,” says Granger MacDonald, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), in a statement. “Builders are encouraged by heightened consumer activity and by the expectation that regulatory costs will decline in the year ahead.”
“The uptick in mortgage interest rates is having a minimal effect on new home sales thus far,” adds Robert Dietz, chief economist for NAHB. “Ongoing job creation, rising household formations and affordable home prices should keep the market on an upward trajectory in 2017.”
Most of the increase in new home sales was in the Midwest, where they jumped 30.9%. New home sales also increased 7.5% in the West and 3.6% in the South. Sales fell 21.4% in the Northeast.