New Single Family Home Sales Plummet, Well Maybe

March 24, 2011 (Chris Moore)
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Sales of new single family homes plummeted by 16.9 percent in February, compared to January, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 250,000 according to estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). However, there is a huge asterisk next to that data as the estimate could be off by as much as 19.1 percent.

The drop in sales compares to a revised rate of 301,000 in January and is 28 percent lower than February 2010 which was at a rate of 347,000.

The Census Bureau figures are survey estimates subject to large sampling errors. Monthly estimates are almost always revised. With a margin of error of 19 percent, the actual figure could be anywhere from 202,000 to 298,000, however, they do provide a rough estimate of how things are trending. For example, January’s new home sales was originally estimated at 284,000, but was later revised to 301,000. Compare that to February 2010’s figures, and one can assert that there has been a definite decline in new home sales.

The median sales price of a new home sold in February was $202,100, while the average sales price was $246,000.

The report calculates that based upon the seasonally adjusted estimate of 186,000 new homes for sale at the end of February, that there is an 8.9 month supply of homes on the market.

By region, the Northeast reported 15,000 new home sales, the Midwest reported 29,000 sales, the South reported 148,000 sales, and the West reported 58,000 new home sales.

Tags: single family home sales, census bureau, HUD, median sales price, average sales price