April 23, 2020 / 2:09 PM / a month ago

U.S. new home sales fall sharply in March

WASHINGTON, April 23 (Reuters) - Sales of new U.S. single-family homes dropped by the most in more than 6-1/2 years in March and further declines are likely as the novel coronavirus outbreak batters the economy and throws millions of Americans out of work.

The Commerce Department said on Thursday new home sales fell 15.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 627,000 units last month. The percentage decline was the largest since July 2013. February’s sales pace was revised down to 741,000 units from the previously reported 765,000 units.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast new home sales, which account for about 10% of housing market sales, plunging 15% to a pace of 645,000 units in March. (Reporting by Lucia Mutikani, Editing by Franklin Paul)

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