Census and HUD reported February new home sales were down 3.3% from January but the average of the two months was virtually unchanged from the fourth quarter average sales at 447,000. The February seasonally-adjusted annual rate was reported at 440,000 and the January figure was revised downward from 468,000 to 455,000. Considering the rough and unusual weather patterns through a good portion of the country, holding steady in January and February is as good as you could expect.
The inventory of for-sale new homes continues to rise as builders foresee a robust spring selling season. Inventories were up 1,000 from January to February and up 3.000 from December. Median selling price fell 1.2% year-over-year and that may be attributable to a rise in sales in the Midwest where house prices are lower than the West and Northeast regions. Sales of homes over $500,000 fell month-to-month from 11% to 9% of all homes sold and were up to 23% from 19% of all homes sold in the $150,000 to $199,999 category.
NAHB expects sales to pick up throughout the rest of 2014 as mortgage rates remain very affordable, the economy continues to expand, employment grows and pent-up demand is released. The new home market has been seen more positive movement than the existing home market especially as the investor demand for existing homes has calmed. Since July 2013, new home sales have increased 18% while existing single-family home sales have declined 15%.