Washington (AP) – New home sales fell 18.2% in February as severe winter weather and a lack of supply damaged the housing industry in many parts of the country.
Sales of single-family homes fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 775,000 last month, the Commerce Department said Tuesday, the slowest pace of sales since May last year.
Every region of the country has seen a drop in sales.
The average price of a new home sold in February was $ 349,400, up 5.3% from a year ago.
The same weather disorder was evident in the existing housing market, for which the United States released the data on Monday. Last month, those sales fell by 6.5%.
The report on Tuesday recorded the first decline in new home sales in two months. Housing remains one of the few highlights of the coronavirus epidemic. Last year, sales of new homes reached levels not seen since housing growth in the mid-2000s.
Despite the upheaval, economists do not believe that even rising prices will freeze the US housing market. The high cost of timber, the rise in mortgage rates, and the fact that they remain at record lows, along with the few properties available for sale, are driving home ownership for many.
“Home sales are still higher than they were a year ago. Given the rate at which the building is growing, new home sales are set to rise this spring,” said Robert Frick, a corporate economist at the Navy Federal Credit Union.
In February, sales fell in each part of the country, led by a 37.5% decline in the Midwest and a 16.4% decline in the West. Sales fell 14.7% in the South and 11.6% in the Northeast.