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Falling rates spur February new home sales growth

With mortgage rates plummeting, new single-family home sales picked up in February, according to the U.S. Census and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

New single-family home sales grew 4.9 percent from January to February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 667,000 — the highest sales rate the market has seen in 11 months. It's also a 0.6-percent increase from February of last year.

The number of new houses for sale at the end of February was estimated, seasonally adjusted, at 340,000, down by 2,000 from the previous month. That’s a 6.1 months of supply for homes, or the amount of time it would take for all homes to be sold on the market if no other homes are added. The home-sales increase indicates the market is stabilizing after rising interest rates pushed sales down last fall, according Robert Dietz, chief economist for National Association of Home Builders.

The combined January and February data, Dietz said, show that new home sales this year are currently 2.8 percent ahead (without seasonal adjustment) of the same months in 2018. That pace is being driven by the South, where sales year-to-date are up 14.4 percent. With mortgage rates continuing to fall, Dietz foresees new home sales growth nationwide in the months ahead.

The median sales price of new houses sold in February was $315,300, down $1,900 from January. The average sales price, on the other hand, rose month to month by $6,500 to $379,600.


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