U.S. New Home Sales Show Substantial Decrease In March

A report released by the Commerce Department on Tuesday showed a steep drop in U.S. new home sales in the month of March.

The Commerce Department said new home sales plunged by 8.6 percent to an annual rate of 763,000 from an upwardly revised rate of 835,000 in February.

Economists had expected new home sales to decrease by 0.9 percent to a rate of 765,000 from the 772,000 originally reported for the previous month.

The steep drop in new home sales came as new home sales in the South plummeted by 10.2 percent to a rate of 414,000, while new home sales in the Midwest plunged by 8.7 percent to a rate of 94,000.

New home sales in the West and Northeast also tumbled by 6.0 percent and 5.4 percent to rates of 202,000 and 53,000, respectively.

The report also said the median sales price of new houses sold in March was $436,700, up 3.6 percent from $421,600 in February and up 21.4 percent from $359,600 a year ago.

The estimate of new houses for sale at the end of March was 407,000, representing 6.4 months of supply at the current sales rate. The months of supply is up from 5.6 in February.

Last Wednesday, the National Association of Realtors released a separate report showing existing home sales saw further downside in the month of March.

NAR said existing home sales slumped by 2.7 percent to an annual rate of 5.77 million in March after plunging by 8.6 percent to a downwardly revised rate of 5.93 million in February.

Economists had expected existing home sales to tumble by 3.7 percent to a rate of 5.80 million from the 6.02 million originally reported for the previous month.

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