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Economy in Brief

U.S. New Home Sales Fall Sharply in February
by Tom Moeller  March 23, 2021

• Sales decline across the country.

• Median house prices ease.

Harsh winter weather throughout the country kept many potential home buyers indoors last month. Sales of new single-family homes declined 18.2% (+8.2% y/y) during February to 775,000 units from 948,000 in January, revised from 923,000. Earlier figures also were revised. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 879,000 sales in February.

Sales fell throughout the country. Midwest sales dropped 37.5% (+4.9% y/y) to 85,000, the lowest level since last June. In the West, sales weakened 16.4% (-8.1% y/y) to 194,000, down from last October's high of 277.000. Sales in South were off 14.7% (+20.2% y/y) to 458,000. Falling by 11.6% both m/m and y/y were sales in the Northeast to 38,000, well below a June 2020 high of 52,000.

The median price of a new home fell 1.1% (+5.3% y/y) in February to $349,400. Working 1.4% higher (7.7% y/y) to $416,000 was the average price of a new home. These prices are not seasonally adjusted.

The supply of new homes for sale in February rose to 4.8 months, up from 3.5 months in October. The median number of months a new home stayed on the market after completion declined to 3.2, after surging to 4.5 months in both August and September of last year.

New home sales activity and prices are available in Haver's USECON database. The consensus expectation figure from Action Economics is available in the AS1REPNA database.

The Economic Outlook and Prospects for Small Business from Fed Governor Michelle W. Bowman is available here.

U.S. New Single-Family Home Sales (SAAR, 000s) Feb Jan Dec Feb Y/Y % 2020 2019 2018
Total 775 948 919 8.2 820 683 617
  Northeast 38 43 39 -11.6 37 30 32
  Midwest 85 136 121 4.9 93 72 76
  South 458 537 534 20.2 473 399 348
  West 194 232 225 -8.1 216 182 160
Median Price (NSA, $) 349,400 353,200 346,600 5.3 336,000 321,500 326,400
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