Sales of new single-family homes fell 1.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 590,000 in February from an upwardly revised rate of 601,000 in January, the Commerce Department said today.
The sales rate was 29.4 percent below the February 2007 estimate of 840,000, marking the slowest pace since 1995.
Economists expected February sales to fall 2.2 percent to a rate of 575,000, and despite beating forecasts, still stood at the slowest sales pace since the 559,000 rate in February 1995.
The inventory of unsold homes fell 2.1 percent from December to January, leaving a supply of 471,000 homes that would take 9.8 months to clear, matching January’s supply.
A year ago, inventory stood at 544,000 homes, with 8.1 months of supply.
The total number of new homes sold during February on an unadjusted basis was estimated to be 49,000, up from 43,000 in January, but below year-ago levels of 68,000.
The median sales price of a new home sold in February fell 2.7 percent to $244,100 from $250,800 a year earlier, but increased from $225,600 in January.
The average sales price of a new home slipped 7.8 percent to $296,400 from $321,500 a year ago, but was up from $282,500 in January.
New home sales fared the worst in the Northeast region, plummeting 40.3 percent from January, though the South and West regions picked up the slack, increasing 5.7 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively.
Roughly 3,000 homes were sold in the Northeast, 6,000 in the Midwest, 28,000 in the South, and 13,000 in the West.