New-home sales take unexpected dip in February

Sales of new single-family houses in February 2013 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 411,000, according to estimates released jointly by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The rate is 4.6% below the revised January rate of 431,000, but is 12.3% above the February 2012 estimate of 366,000. 

The statistics came as a letdown after a big increase was reported for the month of January. Still, new-home sales are at a pace of 400,000 or higher for the second straight month. During all of 2012, the pace was under 400,000. 

The median sales price of new houses sold in February 2013 was $246,800; the average sales price was $313,700. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of February was 152,000. This represents a supply of 4.4 months at the current sales rate.

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