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U.S. New Home Sales Unexpectedly Fall In February; Prices Up Sharply


Sales of new U.S. homes slipped 1.6 percent in February amid a significant jump in prices, data from the Commerce Department showed Friday.

Sales dropped to a seasonally adjusted 313,000 in February, from a slightly downwardly revised 318,000 in January. Consensus estimates called for new homes sales of 325,000.

Compared to January, median sales prices were up sharply to 233,700. The 8.8 percent increase represents the biggest one-month percentage rise more than a year.

Prices were up 6 percent compared to February 2011, and the rate of sales was up 11.4 percent from a year ago.

Unusually warm winter weather may have generated demand for new homes in the Northeast, where sales rose 14.3 percent from the same time last year. Sales were up 8 percent in the West, but dropped 7.2 percent in the South.

Earlier this morning, luxury home builder KB Home reported net orders declined 8 percent from last year. The home builder's loss per share for the quarter was wider than analysts' estimates and revenues missed their expectations.

In a press release discussing the housing market, the company noted "signs that the overall housing market is stabilizing and beginning to recover."

However, the "pace of the recovery is uneven, however, with certain local markets showing greater strength and more normalized activity than other areas where a rebound will take longer to manifest," KB said.

by RTT Staff Writer

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