New Home Sales Gain Little Traction in February
Sales of new single-family homes fell 2.2% in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 308,000 units, the Commerce Department reported on March 24.
"The very slow pace of new-home sales in February was partly due to unusually poor weather conditions, but was also tied to consumers' ongoing concerns about the poor job market and sluggish economy," said NAHB Chairman Bob Jones.
"Unusually bad weather certainly played a role in the large regional declines depicted in the new-home sales report for February," agreed NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.
"In addition,” Crowe said, “many potential buyers remained nervous about their job security and their ability to qualify for a mortgage in light of tight underwriting standards. That said, we are still expecting to see some improvement in consumer demand as the deadline for taking advantage of home buyer tax credits nears. Going forward, other factors such as pent-up demand, new household formations among echo-boomers and excellent affordability conditions will support a 20% gain in new-home sales this year compared to 2009."
While the pace of home sales stumbled to a new record low in February nationwide, of the four regions of the country only the South found itself in record-low territory. Sales bounded 20.8% in the West, while activity in the storm-battered Northeast, Midwest and South cooled by 20%, 18% and 4.6%, respectively.
The inventory of new homes on the market across the country rose by a marginal 1.3% in February, to 236,000 units. That represented a 9.2 months’ supply at February’s more sluggish sales pace, up from a supply of 8.9 months in January.
Web Site Is One-Stop Shop for Tax Credit Info
Builders and other industry professionals can help spur home sales by referring prospective home buyers to www.federalhousingtaxcredit.com. The NAHB Web site provides detailed information on both the extended $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit and the new $6,500 repeat buyer tax credit signed into law by President Obama.
Consumers can use the Web site to find information on both tax credits — including frequently asked questions and links to social media sites that provide updated information as it becomes available. It also includes a number of home-buying resources for consumers.
Industry professionals are encouraged to highlight the tax credit Web site when marketing to their potential home buyer market.
Spring Construction Forecast Conference Now a Webinar on May 18
The 2010 Spring Construction Forecast Conference is now a two-hour webinar to be held from 2:00-4:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, May 18.
Mark Zandi, of Moody’s Analytics, and Chris Varvares, of Macroeconomic Advisers, will join NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe for a macro-level look at the state of the nation’s economy and its impact on housing.
To register, visit www.nahb.org/cfc.