New home sales rise less than expected

New home sales rose 2% at an annual rate of 512,000 in February, according to the Census Bureau.

Economists had estimated that new home sales rose 3.2% at an annual rate of 510,000. Sales were lifted by a 38.5% surge in the West, as the numbers everywhere else declined.

For January, sales were revised upwards to -7% (from -9.2%) at an annual rate of 502,000.

The median price of a new home was $301,400, while the average sales price was $348,900.

The estimate of new houses for sale at the end of the month was 240,000, representing nearly six months of supply at the current sales rate.

“This is something of a relief after the bigger-than-expected drop in existing home sales suggested that some buyers, at least, deferred their purchases in the wake of the drop in stock prices in the early part of the year,” wrote Pantheon Macroeconomics’ Ian Shepherdson in a note.

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