Associated Press – Home Sales rise in the west

Associated Press
Mar. 27, 2007 12:00 AM

Sales of new homes fell nationally for a second consecutive month in February, but the West was the only region of the country bucking that trend.The Commerce Department reported Monday that sales of new single-family homes dropped 3.9 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 848,000 units, the slowest pace in nearly seven years.

In the West, sales were up 24.6 percent, a rebound after a 25.8 percent plunge in January. Sales fell by 26.8 percent in the Northeast and were down 20 percent in the
Midwest. Sales were down 7 percent in the South.

The composite figures continue to dim hopes for a rebound soon in the troubled housing market and raises fears about the health of the overall economy.The February decline followed a 15.8 percent plunge in January, the biggest one-month decline in 13 years.

The weakness in sales was accompanied by a drop in prices with the median price of a new home falling to $250,000 in February, down 0.3 percent from a year earlier.

The performance of new-home sales was in contrast to a report last week that sales of existing homes rose in February.

The back-to-back declines in the new-home market served to support the forecasts of private analysts who believe the slowdown in housing has more months to run its course.

Last week, the Fed bolstered spirits on Wall Street with a signal that it might consider cutting interest rates if the economic slowdown threatened to worsen.

 

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