Existing home sales were down 0.4% on the month to an annualized pace of 4.60 million units. This was right in line with expectations.
February's pace of sales was the lowest since July 2012.
This compares with a 5.1% fall to 4.62 million units in January. The severe winter has weighed on housing data.
The median price for existing homes was up 9.1% from a year ago to $189,000.
"We had ongoing unusual weather disruptions across much of the country last month, with the continuing frictions of constrained inventory, restrictive mortgage lending standards and housing affordability less favorable than a year ago," Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist said in a press release.
He does however think as the job market improves and delayed transactions get resolved home sales should pick up modestly through this year.
"The underlying trend in existing home sales was clearly downwards long before the severe weather set in, but it seems reasonable to think that at least some of the drop in the past three months reflects the severe winter and will reverse," according to Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.
"Whether that will be enough to generate an increase in activity is another question, though, given that mortgage demand continues to fall."
Here's a look at the regional breakdown:
- In the Northeast, existing home sales were down 11.3% to an annual rate of 560,000 units, and were down 8.2% from a year ago.
- In the Midwest, existing home sales were down 3.8% to an annual pace of 1.00 million, and down 12.3% from a year ago.
- In the South, existing home sales were down 1.5% to an annual rate of 1.98 million, and were down 0.5% from a year ago.
- In the west, they bucked the trend and were up 5.9% to 1.07 million units, and were up 10.1% from a year ago.
Pending home sales, considered a leading indicator for future existing home sales, finally ticked up modestly in January but had been down for some time.
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