New Home Sales Fall 0.3% in February

The February release for new home sales from the Census Bureau came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 662,000 units, falling short of the 675,000 forecast. New home sales were down 0.3% month-over-month from a revised rate of 664,000 in January and are up 5.9% from one year ago.

For a longer-term perspective, here is a snapshot of the data series, which is produced in conjunction with the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The data since January 1963 is available in the St. Louis Fed's FRED repository here. We've included a six-month moving average to highlight the trend in this highly volatile series.

New Home Sales

Over this time frame, we see the steady rise in new home sales following the 1990 recession and the acceleration in sales during the real estate bubble that peaked in 2005. Starting in 2011, there was a similar rise in new home sales that peaked near the end of 2020 and retracted for about 2 years. New home sales recently saw steady growth for the first half of 2023 but have been easing as of late.