Existing home sales in US dipped 7.1% in February

But sales are 2.2% higher than February 2015

Sales of existing homes in the U.S. fell in February from the prior month, but are still higher than the same time period last year.

Last month, sales in all four regions of the country dropped 7.1 percent from January with a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.08 million, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The decrease is attributed to rising prices coupled with low inventory, the Wall Street Journal reported. Despite an increase of 3.3 percent from January, the number of existing homes on the market fell to 1.9 million, a 1.1 percent decrease from a year earlier, the Journal reported.

The 7.1 percent drop is higher than what economists surveyed by the Journal had forecast at 2.6 percent.

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Still, the sales are 2.2 percent higher than February 2015 and the national median sale price continues to make year-over-year gains. In February, the median sale price was $210,800, up 4.4 percent from a year earlier, according to the Journal.

The month’s numbers were a “meaningful slowdown,” Lawrence Yun, the chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, told the Journal. However, Yun also said the average for both January and February — 5.25 million — was comparable to the same period last year.

The Northeast was hit the hardest, falling 17.1 percent to 630,000, and then the Midwest, which saw a 13.8 percent decrease to 1.12 million. In the West there was 3.4 percent dip and the South saw a 1.8 percent decline, the Journal reported.

The Real Deal reported on Friday that roughly 14,500 new units of housing are expected to hit the Manhattan market between 2015 and 2017, creating more than five years of excess inventory. [WSJ]Dusica Sue Malesevic