New-home Sales Tumble 11.4% To 481,000 Annual Rate In March

Sales of new single-family homes tumbled 11.4% to an annual rate of 481,000 in March, pulling back from a seven-year high reached in the prior month and hitting the slowest pace since November, according to government data released Thursday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected a rate of 504,000 for March, compared with an original estimate of 539,000 for February. On Thursday the U.S. Commerce Department revised February's pace to 543,000. Economists caution over reading too much into a single monthly report. A confidence interval of plus or minus 18.6% for March's 11.4% drop shows that the government isn't sure whether the sales rate rose or fell last month. March's sales pace was up 19.4% from a year earlier. The median sales price fell 1.7% to $277,400 in March from a year earlier. All the homes now on the market would be sold in 5.3 months at the current sales pace, up from 4.6 months in February. The sales rate for new single-family homes fell 33% in the Northeast, 16% in the South and 3% in the West. Meanwhile, the rate rose 6% in the Midwest.

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