New single-family home sales fell to an annual rate of 848,000 units from a downwardly revised rate of 882,000 in January, the Commerce Department said. Analysts polled by Reuters were expecting February sales to rise to 985,000 from the previously reported rate of 937,000 units in January
The monthly decline was the second straight and the volume of sales fell to their lowest level since June 2000, when they hit 793,000.
This represents a 3.9% decline month-over-month and 18.3% year-over-year.
The median price of a new home was $250,000- virtually unchanged from last year’s $250,800. Price does not reflect homebuilder incentives, nor is it adjusted for inflation.
Inventory contines to climb. From MarketWatch:
Inventories of unsold homes rose 1.5% to 546,000, representing an 8.1-month supply, the largest inventory in relation to sales since January 1991. The inventory is up 26.6% in the past 12 months.
The only comfort for housing bulls this month is the large margin of error, which makes it possible that things aren’t as dire as they seem:
Sales of new one-family houses in February 2007 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 848,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 3.9 percent (±17.4%)* below the revised January rate of 882,000 and is 18.3 percent (±12.2%) below the February 2006 estimate of 1,038,000.
Given the general trend of the market though, that comfort is a small one.