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New home sales down 7.1% in March, but February totals revised up

April 24, 2012|By Jim Puzzanghera
  • There were mixed signals from the housing industry in February and March.
There were mixed signals from the housing industry in February and March. (Getty Images )

WASHINGTON — It was good news and bad news on the housing front Tuesday as the government reported that new home sales dropped 7.1% in March but revised the figures for February significantly upward.

Sales of new single-family homes last month were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 328,000, according to data from the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The figure for March was the lowest since November, but was slightly above analyst expectations.

The government said sales in February were much stronger than the preliminary estimates. New homes that month sold at an annual rate of 353,000, up sharply from the initial 313,000 figure released in March.

The new figure, the strongest since April 2010, meant new home sales increased 7.3% in February from January instead of dropping 1.6% as originally estimated.

New home sales for December and January also were revised upward.

Overall, the pace of new home sales in March was up 7.5% from a year earlier. The median new home price last month was $234,500, down from the revised February figure of 236,900.

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