Wednesday, March 24, 2010
March 24 (Bloomberg) — Sales of new homes in the U.S. unexpectedly fell in February to a record low as blizzards, unemployment and foreclosures depressed the market.
Purchases decreased 2.2 percent to an annual pace of 308,000, figures from the Commerce Department showed today in Washington. The median sales price climbed by the most in more than two years.
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The new-home market is vying with foreclosure-induced declines in prices for existing homes in an economy where unemployment is forecast to average 9.6 percent this year, close to a 26-year high. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner yesterday said it would take a “long time” to repair the housing market as the administration takes steps to overhaul real-estate financing and regulation.
“It’s going to be a long, slow slog and the lagging sector will be new home sales because they have to compete with existing sales and foreclosures,” Bill Hampel, chief economist at the Credit Union National Association in Washington, said before the report. “New home sales probably have until the fourth quarter until they start recovering.”
This article was posted: Wednesday, March 24, 2010 at 8:51 am