"The report is consistent with a persistent overhang in the housing market," said Alex Beuzelin, a foreign exchange analyst at Ruesch International. "This disappointing number highlights the ongoing risk of slower housing activity on the broader economy, and that's why we are seeing the dollar sell off."
Across the regions, the West saw the only increase in new-home sales with a 24.6% increase. In the Northeast, new home sales fell 26.8% while the decreased 20% in the Midwest and 7% in the South.
Chicago Fed Index Rose To 0.03
The Chicago Fed said its National Activity Index rose to 0.03 in February from an upwardly revised -0.72. It was previously reported as -0.74 in January.
The three-month moving average of the index was negative for a sixth straight month, but rose to -0.02 from an upwardly revised -0.23. It was originally reported as -0.29 in January.
The Chicago Fed said the jump in the three-month average toward zero suggests growth in national economic activity was near its historical trend and that inflation pressures over the next year are balanced.
Stronger production-related indicators reflected a 1% increase in total industrial production and rising capacity utilization on the month.
The three other broad categories of indicators (employment, consumption and housing/sales) were all negative.
Employment indicators were hurt by slower job creation in February, even as the national jobless rate fell.
Overall, 38 of the 85 individual indicators tracked by the Chicago Fed made positive contributions in February while 47 made negative contributions. Some 51 indicators improved in February from January while 34 indicators deteriorated.
Dallas Fed Production Index Rose To 27.2
Meanwhile, manufacturing in the Dallas Fed district, which represents a notable portion of total U.S. output and is concentrated in energy production and electronic goods, rose to 27.2 from 18.1 the month before. However, the Dallas Fed's measure of general activity fell to 12.7 from 26.0 a month earlier.
Readings above zero denote rising activity levels.
The prices paid index inched up to 29.7 from 29.3 in February, while the prices received hit 12.4 compared with 15.0 the prior month.
The new orders index, meanwhile, stood at 20.6 from 26.8 in February. The employment index was 19.0 from 19.7.