U.S. home sales drop in March (Reuters)

Friday, April 24th, 2009 | Finance News

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Sales of newly built U.S. single-family homes dropped 0.6 percent in March, but the stock of homes for sale at the end of the month still plummeted at a record pace, Commerce Department data showed on Friday.

The inventory of new homes shrank in March, to 311,000 from 328,000 in February. That left the supply of homes available for sale at 10.7 months' worth, compared to February's 11.2 months.

The Commerce Department said that the monthly change in inventories, of 5.2 percent, was the largest drop in more than 45 years and the year-on-year plunge of 33.7 percent was the largest on record.

February sales were much stronger than originally thought, with the report showing they rose 8.2 percent, compared to the 4.7 percent gain previously reported.

The March drop brought home sales to a 356,000 annual pace. Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast sales at 340,000.

The median sales price for a new home fell to $201,400 from $208,700 in February. The average price, however, rose slightly to $258,000 from $255,100.

(Reporting by Lisa Lambert, Editing by Andrea Ricci)

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