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Economy in Brief

U.S. New Home Sales Hit Record Low With Severe Weather
by Tom Moeller  March, 23, 2011

Harsh winter weather again helped dampen home buying. Total new home sales in February fell 16.9% to 250,000 (AR) after a 9.6% January decline that was less than reported initially. Expectations were for 290,000 February sales according to Action Economics. Sales have fallen by three-quarters from the all-time record 1,279,000 in 2005. The decline in February sales was most pronounced in the Northeast where a 57.1% m/m drop left them at a record low. Sales in the Midwest also dropped a sharp 27.5% to a record low. Home sales in the West registered a lesser 14.7% to the lowest level since October while sales in the South were off 6.3% m/m.

With the decline in sales last month, the inventory of unsold homes rose to an 8.9 months supply and roughly equaled the recent high of 9.1 in August. The median price of a new single family home dropped 13.9% to $202,100 from an upwardly revised January level.

The data in this report are available in Haver's USECON database.

The Effectiveness of Homeownership in Building Household Wealth from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City is available here.

U.S. New Home Sales Feb Jan Dec Y/Y % 2010 2009 2008
Total (SAAR, 000s) 250 301 333 -28.0 322 374 482
Northeast 15 35 21 -50.0 31 32 35
Midwest 29 40 39 -40.8 45 54 69
South 148 158 166 -17.8 172 201 265
West 58 68 107 -34.1 74 87 113
Median Price (NSA, $) 202,100 234,800 236,800 -8.9 220,875 214,500 230,408
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