New Home Sales Slip but Prices at Seven Month High


New home sales in February were down 1.6 percent from sales
in January according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing
and Urban Development.  Sales were
estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 313,000 in February down from
318,000 in January.  The January figures provided
today were revised from the 321,000 originally reported.  Despite the decrease, sales in February were
still 11.4 percent above the rate in February 2011.

The median price of homes sold in February was $233,700 and
the average price was $267,700 the highest for both figures since June, 2011.  In January the median was $215,700 and the
average $261,900 and one year earlier those figures were $220,100 and $262,800.

There were an estimated 150,000 newly constructed homes for
sale nationwide at the end of February, unchanged from January but down from
182,000 in February 2011.  The report estimates
that this is a 5.8 month supply at the current pace of sales.  The inventory a year ago was estimated at 7.8
months. Homes sold during February had been on the market for a median of 7.6
month, compared to 7.3 months in January and 8.1 months in February 2011.

In the Northeast region sales were up 14.3 percent to an
annual rate of 24,000 homes.  This is
26.3 percent above the rate in February 2011. 
Sales were also up in the West where the annual pace of 81,000 was 8
percent above the January figure and 32.8 percent higher than a year
earlier.  In the Midwest sales were at an
annual pace of 40,000, down 2.4 percent month-over-month but up 29.0 percent
year-over-year.  In the South sales were
off by 7.2 percent to 168,000 and were also down from a year earlier by 1.2

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