new home sales dog

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Sales of new single-family homes in the US swelled in February to a seven-year high, hinting at a strong start to the spring sales season.

New single-family home sales rose 7.8 percent from January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 539,000, according to estimates released today by the Commerce Department. The February rate of sales is 24.8 percent higher than the previous year’s pace of 432,000.

The median sales price of new houses sold in February was $275,500, and the average sales price was $341,000. The seasonally adjusted estimated of new single-family homes for sale at the end of February was 210,000, which represents a supply of 4.7 months at the current sales pace.

In January and February, new home sales hit the 500,000 mark for two consecutive months — the first time this has happened since early 2008, before the financial crisis.

Sales were 10 percent up in the South, where more than half of all new single-family homes are built, MarketWatch reported.

Last month’s strong showing comes with a caveat; the new-construction home sector is only about 10 percent of the overall housing market, and February’s advance estimate has a margin of error of plus or minus 15.2 percentage points.

Existing-home sales — including single-family homes, townhomes, condos and co-ops — increased 4.7 percent from the previous year in February, the National Association of Realtors said Monday. Sales of previously owned homes, which represent 90 percent of the house purchase market, inched up 1.2 percent from January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.88 million. The median price for all housing types increased to $202,600, up 7.5 percent from February 2014.

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