WASHINGTON–Sales of newly built housing fell for the fifth straight month in March, and the median price for new homes also dropped, both compared with February and with March of last year.
The U.S. Commerce Department reported this morning that new home sales during the month reached 526,000 at an annual rate, down 8.5 percent from houses sold in February, and a steep 36.6 percent drop on a year-over-year basis.
The median sales price of new homes also fell. In March, the price was $227,600, down 6.8 percent over February’s median, and down 7.7 percent over the year.
A similar picture was presented for used or previously owned homes. The National Association of Realtors reported two days ago that sales of existing housing, at 4.9 million units, was down 1.6 percent from February, and down more than 19 percent over the year.
Although the median price of used homes also dropped over the year, it picked up slightly compared with February. The increase, however, was not sufficient for the realtor group to suggest that the downturn has reached bottom.
“Little change is expected in existing-home sales over the next few months, before improving notably during the second half of the year,” the trade group said in a statement.