New Home Sales Fall 4.6%, More Than Expected

Business Insider

New home sales fell 4.6 percent month-over-month in February, to an annual rate of 411,000.

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This was worse than expectations for a 3.9 percent fall to an annual rate of 420,000.

But new home sales were up 12.3 percent on a year-over-year basis.

Last month's reading was revised down to show a 13.1 percent rise to an annual rate of 431,000.

Moreover, the median sales price of new homes was $246,800, up from $226,400 the previous month. This compares with an initial reading of a 15.6 percent rise to an annual rate of 437,000.

The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of February was 152,000. It would take 4.4 months to sell the supply at the current sales pace.

This follows on 9.6 percent rise in existing homes supply to 4.7 months, from 4.3 months in January.

While overall housing supply continues to stay tight, declining inventory had helped drive home prices through 2012. So this is a number that investors will be watching closely.

Bank of America's Michelle Meyer had previously told Business Insider that the month-over-month number tends to be extremely noisy and that we should expect downward revisions to January's number.

She prefers to track the three or six-month moving average because it tends to move out the noise.

Economists also watch the new home sales number to get an insight into housing supply, because tight supply helps support home prices.



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