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First Cut: February sales of new single-family homes highest in a year

Sales of new single-family homes rose 4.9% in February to 667,000, its highest since 672,000 in March 2018. Sales were up 0.6% compared to a year-ago. Consumers moved to close contracts on homes not yet started (173,000 or 29.5% of total), homes under construction (215,000 or 32.5% of total), and for homes completed (248,000 or 37.9% of total). In part, homebuyers are responding to lower mortgage rates, but also to limited supplies of existing home stocks that are driving buyers to new construction.

The months’ supply of homes available for sale fell to 6.1 in February, the lowest since 6.0 in June 2018.

Sales were up in three of four regions. The Midwest jumped 28.3% and the Northeast surged 26.9%. The South had a modest 1.8% increase and sales were flat in the West.

The median price of a new home was up 3.8% to $315,300 in February, but was down 3.6% from the year-ago month. Median price remains well below the near-term peak of $328,300 in September and October 2018.



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