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New home sales dipped 1.6% in February to 313,000 from January, but rose 11.6% from the same period a year earlier.
The seasonally adjusted annual measure, released by the Commerce Department Friday, fell from a downwardly revised January estimate of 318,000 from 321,000.
Analysts surveyed by Econoday expected a much better result of 325,000 for the February estimate.
The actual nonadjusted total of new homes sold increased to 25,000 in February from 22,000 both a month and year earlier.
The median and average sales prices, also unadjusted, rose 8.3% and 2.2% to $233,700 and $267,700 from a month earlier.
The South, which accounted for a majority of U.S. adjusted sales, held back the rest of the country as it posted the only yearly drop, 1.2%, in deals. The region's sales also fell 7.2% monthly, making it the largest decline.
The West, Midwest and Northeast all saw huge increases of 32.8%, 29% and 26.3%, respectively, in February compared to February 2011.
The Commerce Department estimated an adjusted annual supply of 150,000 homes on the market in February, an inventory of 5.8 months per the current sales rate. That inventory rate is up 1.8% monthly but down drastically, 25.6%, from 2011.
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