WASHINGTON -- Sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 11.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 300,000 units in March, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.
 
This welcome gain partly offset a decline that led to record-low activity in February, wrough by a combination of a sluggish economy and poor weather conditions.

"The March pace of new-home sales more accurately reflects current market conditions than the extremely low pace we saw in the first two months of this year, when unusually poor weather likely kept buyers away," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "That said, the average sales pace for the first quarter of 2011 held at about the same level seen for the last half of 2010."

New-home sales regained ground in three out of four regions this March. The Northeast posted a 66.7% gain from a very low sales pace in the previous month, while the Midwest posted a 12.9% increase and the West posted a 25.9% gain. Sales activity remained virtually unchanged in the South, with a 0.6% decline.

The inventory of new homes for sale fell to 183,000 units in March, which is the second-lowest level on record. This represents a 7.3-month supply at the current sales pace.

Read National Home Builder Association's press release.

Posted by Rich Christianson

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