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.