Washington, DC, United States (4E) – Sales of newly constructed homes in the U.S. fell in March while prices increased, the latest sign that challenges remain to the recovery of the country’s housing market.
Sales of new single-family homes fell 14.5 percent in March from the prior month to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 384,000, according to the Commerce Department report released Wednesday. The sales rate for the first two months of the year was also revised higher. Sales of newly built homes declined 13.3 percent from a year ago.
The figure in March was the lowest annual rate since July last year and was below economists’ projections. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had predicted last month’s sales would reach a pace of 450,000.
The severe winter had halted activity at construction sites and slowed down the housing sector and labor market in the past several months.
Wednesday’s report by the Commerce Department also showed home sales rose in the Northeast but declined in the West, South and Midwest.
Sales are likely to rebound in the coming months. In a separate report by the Commerce Department last week, it showed that builders began construction on more homes for the second consecutive month in March. U.S. housing starts climbed 2.8 percent last month, boosted by construction of single-family homes.