Sales of newly built single-family homes posted a robust month in February. New-home sales rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 592,000 units, up 6.1 percent month over month and 12.8 percent ahead of last year, the Commerce Department reported this week.
“February’s increase in new home sales is consistent with builders’ growing confidence in the housing market,” says Granger MacDonald, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders. “Builders are encouraged by heightened consumer activity and by the expectation that regulatory costs will decline in the year ahead.”
The inventory of new homes for sale in February was 266,000, a 5.4-month supply at the current sales pace. The median sales price was $296,200.
New-home sales posted the strongest uptick in the Midwest in February, rising 30.9 percent month over month, followed by a 7.5 percent gain in the West and a 3.6 percent increase in the South. The Northeast was the only major region of the U.S. to see a decrease last month, with new-home sales falling 21.4 percent there.
“The uptick in mortgage interest rates is having a minimal effect on new-home sales thus far,” says Robert Dietz, NAHB’s chief economist. “Ongoing job creation, rising household formations, and affordable home prices should keep the market on an upward trajectory in 2017.”