New home sales slide 7.1% in March, but February Totals Get Revised Up

Pace of sales remains 7.5 percent above March 2011 level.

Sales of new single-family houses in March 2012 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 328,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 7.1 percent (±20.7%)* below the revised February rate of 353,000, but is 7.5 percent (±19.6%)* above the March 2011 estimate of 305,000.

The median sales price of new houses sold in March 2012 was $234,500; the average sales price was $291,200. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of March was 144,000. This represents a supply of 5.3 months at the current sales rate.

The figure for March was the lowest since November, but still slightly exceeded analyst expectations. And land sales in February were much stronger than previsuosly estimated. Revised figures show that new homes sold in February at an annual rate of 353,000, up  from an initially estimated 313,000 units.

According to a story in The L.A. Times, this new figure, the strongest since April 2010, indicates that new home sales actually increased 7.3% in February, rather than dropping 1.6% from January as was originally reported.

New home sales for December and January also were revised upward.

Overall, the pace of new home sales in March was up 7.5% from a year earlier. The median new home price last month was $234,500, down from the revised February figure of 236,900.

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, Department of Housing and Urban Development, The L.A. TImes