03/23/2016 10:07 EDT | Updated 03/24/2017 01:12 EDT

Western US homebuyers push up sales of new homes in February

WASHINGTON — U.S. homebuyers in the West accounted for all of February's increase in sales of new houses, a sign of a potentially uneven real estate market heading into the spring buying season.

The Commerce Department says new-home sales rose 2 per cent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 512,000. All of the increase came from 38.5 per cent surge in purchases in the West, which reversed a stiff 32.7 per cent decline in January that had cut into overall sales.

Sales fell last month in the Northeast, Midwest and South. Purchases of new homes have slipped slightly from their annual pace a year ago, a possible sign of mounting affordability pressures.

The median new-home sales price rose 2.6 per cent from a year ago to $301,400.

Josh Boak, The Associated Press