New home sales increased 1.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 417,000 for March, according to a Commerce Department report (link opens a PDF) released today. After a 4.6% drop for February and a 15.6% jump in January, these newest numbers represent a slightly more stable rise in sales.


Although March's report gets points for steadiness, housing market growth is less than stellar. Results fell just short of market analysts' expectations of a 419,000 annual rate, another letdown after yesterday's existing-home sales report.

Median home prices barely budged, moving up $200 to $247,000 for March.

After a 4.8% expansion in supply last month to 4.4 months at the current sales rate, home inventories remained unchanged for March. A report released yesterday continues to point to a lack of supply as the primary reason for the housing market's slow recovery.

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