Sales of newly built homes in February beat the Street's expectations by a bundle. Analysts had projected a 4 percent drop from January and instead saw an 8 percent jump. The sales pace is the highest in seven years and is a full 25 percent higher than a year ago.
There is, however, a big backstory.
The "annualized sales pace" hit 539,000—which means that is the estimated number of homes that would sell in all of 2015, based on the pace in February. Again, it is the highest clip in seven years, but back then housing had just undergone an epic crash, from a 1.4 million annualized pace in July 2005 to a bottom of 270,000 in February 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.