New home sales in the U.S. unexpectedly rose in February, the Department of Commerce reported Wednesday. Meanwhile, the median sale price continued to fall.

New home sales rose to an annualized pace of 337k, a 4.7% increase from January, the report said. The previous month's reading of 309k sales was revised up to 322k.

Economists were expecting a 2.9% fall to 300k. Inventories fell to a pace of 12.2, down from a 12.9-month supply in January.

The median sale price of new houses fell to $200,900 in February, down from $206,800. Annually, prices have fallen 18.1%.

In the West, the pace of sales rose to 65k in February from an upwardly revised 61k in January, while sales in the Midwest fell to 50k from an upwardly revised 55k. Sales in the South surged to 193k from an upwardly revised 176k in January. The pace of sales fell in the Northeast to 29k from a downwardly revised 30k in January.

By Stephen Huebl and edited by Sarah Sussman
©CEP News Ltd. 2009