New home sales declined in February, but remained ahead of their pace for the entirety of 2012, according to figures released today by the Census Bureau.
Sales of newly built, single-family homes were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 411,000 for the month, down 4.6 percent from January's revised rate of 431,000 units. On an annual basis, February's rate represents a 12.3 percent increase from the February 2012 figure of 366,000 units and is higher than any single month during last year.
New home sales for last 12 months
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
West shows strongest sustained gains
For the month, new home sales were down in most regions of the country with the exception of the Midwest, where sales were up 13.7 percent to an annual pace of 58,000 units, up from 51,000 in January. Compared to the February 2012 rate of 49,000 units, Midwest sales showed an annual gain of 18.4 percent.
On an annual basis, the West is by far the nation's strongest market for new home sales, posting a 54.9 percent gain from February 2012, with an annual rate of 141,000 sales in February compared to 91,000 one year earlier. For the month, sales were down 2.1 percent from January's rate of 144,000.
The South is by far the nation's biggest market for new home sales, with an annual rate of 186,000 units in February, but was down 5.6 percent from the February 2012 level of 197,000 and posted a one-month decline of 9.7 percent from January's rate of 212,000.
The smallest new home market of the nation's four major regions is the Northeast, which posted an annual rate of 26,000 homes for the month, down 10.3 percent from the February 2012 rate of 29,000 units and down 13.3 percent from January' pace of 30,000 homes.