U.S. existing home sales surged 11.8% in February
U.S. existing home sales surged 11.8% in February to 5.51 M, after a revised January decline to 4.93 M (was 4.94 M). Sales rose in all regions except the Northeast. Analysts see a 4.2% growth rate for existing home sales in Q1, after contraction rates of 11.8% in Q4, 7.2% in Q3 and 7.1% in Q2. For the year, sales are estimated to decline 2.3%. Analysts saw a 0.1% February median price gain to $249,500, while inventories rose 2.5% and posted a 3.2% y/y gain, a seventh consecutive gain. The months supply was 3.5, versus 3.9 January. Analysts expect a Q4 GDP growth trimming to 2.3% from the initial 2.6% estimate. Analysts expect Q1 GDP growth of 1.6%, with a -6% (was -7%) growth rate in "real" residential construction after an estimated -5.4% (was -3.5%) figure in Q4. Analysts expect a growth rate for "real" nonresidential construction of 4% in Q1 after a -4.2% pace in Q4. Analysts expect growth for real government purchases of 3.2% in Q1 after an estimated -0.2% (was 0.4%) clip in Q4.