New home sales fell to a record low in February, evidence that the U.S. housing market still has not quite fully recovered from the turmoil of the last few years despite positive indicators in other industries.
According to a monthly report released by the Department of Commerce, sales of new single-family homes declined to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 308,000. The figure represents a 2.2 percent decrease from 315,000 in January and a 13 percent decrease from 354,000 in February 2009.
It was the fourth consecutive month in which new homes sales have declined, and was the worst showing on record since 1963, according to the Associated Press.
“While bad weather could well have suppressed the February result, it was dismal no matter how one tries to slice and dice it,” Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at global economic consulting firm Maria Fiorini Ramirez Inc., told the Associated Press.
Others believe that continued poor sales could be a major hindrance to America’s financial future.
“There is a clear danger that a renewed decline in the housing market could derail the recovery in the wider economy,” Paul Dales, U.S. economist at research firm Capital Economics, told the Financial Times.
But some financial experts saw a silver lining in the news. In his blog for the Atlantic Monthly, Daniel Indiviglio wrote that he believes the decrease in sales could be ending.
“There’s not much good news here, but anyone trying to be optimistic might note that the 2.2 percent decline in February was the smallest drop since October,” Indiviglio said. “So there’s some possibility that the decrease in new home sales might be settling.”