New home sales declined 4.4% in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 765,000 units, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The rate was strong despite that decline, growing 14.3% above February 2019 new home sales, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The latest new home sales were reported prior to the ongoing coronavirus concerns, and sales are expected to weaken in coming months.

“Sales were on solid footing as we entered 2020, but this could be the high water mark for the next few months as consumers contend with the coronavirus outbreak,” NAHB Chair Dean Mon stated.

Regionally, new home sales grew 38.9% in the Northeast and 1% in the South. New home sales decreased 17.2% and 7.3% in the West and Midwest, respectively.

New home inventory declined in February year-over-year to 319,000, a drop of 6.7% and a 5-month supply at the current sales pace. The median sales price for the month was $345,900.