March New Home Sales Down 0.6%

But that's good news: Numbers are actually better than expected
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 24, 2009 11:09 AM CDT
New KB Home properties built to order are advertised at the KB Home development in Sylmar, Calif.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – New US home sales dipped slightly last month but still beat expectations as builders start to see long-awaited encouraging signs about the housing market—including a dip in the inventory of new homes for sale. Sales fell 0.6% in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 356,000, the Commerce Department said today.

March's results exceeded the expectations of economists surveyed by Reuters who expected a sales pace of 340,000 units. Sales were still down nearly 31% from March 2008. The median sales price fell to $201,400, a 12% drop from a year earlier. Prices are likely to remain weak for months as builders continue to clear out their stock of unsold homes.