March 25, 2014

New-home sales decrease in February

March 26, 2014 – New-home sales were down 3.3 percent from January to February and 1.1 percent from a year ago, according to NAFCU Research Assistant Doug Christman.

"Sales levels fell sharply in the Northeast as severe weather held back regional sales in February," Christman said, analyzing data from the Census Bureau for a NAFCU Macro Data Flash report. "Limited inventories, rising mortgage rates and higher home prices are constraining overall activity."

Monthly data show a total of 440,000 annualized units sold in February, down from 455,000 in January.

There were 5.2 months of available inventory in February, up from a revised five months of supply in January. The number of unsold homes left on the market increased to 189,000 units. The number of unsold homes is up 24.3 percent on a year-ago basis.

The median new-home price, non-seasonally adjusted, increased from $260,800 in January to $261,800 in February, according to the Census Bureau. That's down from $265,100 a year ago.

"Housing starts have also declined for the third consecutive month, causing concerns about overall housing investment in 2014," Christman said. "The housing market outlook is expected to improve as the labor market strengthens through the remainder of the year."