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Sales of new homes fell in March by the largest amount in more than a year, indicating that the U.S. housing market remains under strain despite some modest signs of improvement.
The Commerce Department said Tuesday that sales dropped 7.1 percent in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 328,000 units. That followed a 7.3 percent increase in sales in February. This figure was revised up from an initial estimate that February sales had fallen 1.6 percent.
The weakness in March could reflect that a warmer-than-normal winter caused sales that normally occur at the start of the spring sales season in March to occur in February instead.
Sales of new homes stand at just about half the roughly 700,000-a-year pace that analysts consider evidence of a healthy market.