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New home sales fell 1.5% at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 511,000 in March, according to the Census Bureau.
Economists had forecast that new home sales rose 1.6% at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 520,000, according to Bloomberg.
Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow, said that much of the national softness this year has been driven by the West.
“The West region is home to some of the nation’s priciest and fastest-growing housing markets, and continued weakness could indicate some fatigue among home buyers who need a breather from breakneck appreciation,” Gudell said in a note.
The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of March was 246,000, representing nearly six months of supply at the current sales rate.
The median sales price of a new home was $288,000 while the average sales price was $356,200.
The data for February were revised lower, to a 0.4% drop (from 2%) at a rate of 519,000 (from 512,000). But the revised data for the past three months were revised upwards by a net 23,000.