Sales of new homes declined 2.2% in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 308,000, down from a revised January rate of 315,000, the Commerce Department reported.
The February rate is 13% below the rate reported for February 2009, and marks a record low for sales, based on figures dating to 1963. New-home sales have slipped for four consecutive months.
Separately, the National Association of Realtors reported that existing-home sales also declined for a third straight month in February, hitting the lowest level since July 2009.
Winter storms in parts of the country were cited as a factor in the sluggish home sales, although observers say the weather can’t be blamed entirely for the housing industry’s continued woes.
Compared to January, new-home sales in February declined in all regions except the West, where an estimated increase of 20.8% was reported. Elsewhere, estimated sales fell 20% in the Northeast, 18% in the Midwest, and 4.6% in the South.
Compared to February 2009, new-home sales were flat in the Northeast, but fell a steep 18% in the Midwest, 29.5% in the South, and 34.8% in the West.
In the report on existing-home sales, the Realtors association said sales dipped 0.6% in February from January, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.02 million units. Sales in February, however, were up 7% from the same month a year earlier.
Regionally, existing-home sales in February rose 2.4% in the Northeast and 2.8% in the Midwest compared to January. Sales declined 1.1% in the South and 4.7% in the West.