U.S. sales of new single-family homes increased 13.8 percent in March, following an 11-percent decline in February, the U.S. Commerce Department reported. However, sales for the first quarter 2006 were down 9.7 percent from the fourth quarter of 2005, and year-to-date sales were down 8.2 percent from 2005.
"Month-to-month changes in the new-home sales series are notoriously volatile, but the quarterly pattern of sales is reasonably in keeping with other housing indicators, including NAHB's surveys of single-family builders," said NAHB Chief Economist David Seiders. "This longer-term pattern is consistent with the orderly cooling down process we've been anticipating, as affordability problems and reduced investor demand bring home sales down from the unsustainable levels of 2005."
According to Commerce Department figures, new-home sales increased to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.213 million units in March. However, the sales pace was 1.159 million units for the first quarter as a whole, down from 1.283 million units for the last quarter of 2005 and 1.249 million units for the first quarter of last year.
All four regions across the country posted increased sales of new homes in March. Sales were up in Northeast by 4.7 percent, the Midwest by 10.9 percent, the South by 6.9 percent and in the West by 35.7 percent. However, the first-quarter average was below the final quarter of 2005 in all regions.
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