US new home sales rise on strong gains
WASHINGTON: New US single-family home sales rebounded modestly in February as a surge in the West offset sharp declines in other regions, pointing to a gradually improving housing sector amid a dearth of properties avail-able on the market. The Commerce Department said on Wednesday home sales rose two per cent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 512,000 units. January’s sales pace was revised up to 502,000 units from the previously reported 494,000 units. “The housing market is improving, though in fits and starts and not uniformly across the nation,” said Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors in Holland, Pennsylvania. New single-family home sales were driven by a 38.5 per cent jump in the West last month, which reversed January’s 32.7 per cent dive. Sales plunged 24.2 per cent in the Northeast and tumbled 17.9 per cent in the Midwest. They fell 4.1 per cent in the populous South. Excluding the West, home sales were down 8.1 per cent. New home sales account for about 9.2 per cent of the housing market.