Page last updated at 15:01 GMT, Friday, 24 April 2009 16:01 UK

US new home sales fall slightly

New home for sale
The stock of new houses in the US fell in March

US new home sales fell slightly in March but still beat expectations, official figures show.

The Commerce Department said that sales dropped 0.6% compared with February, when there was a marked jump in the number of new homes sold.

The annualised rate of new houses sold in March was 356,000, almost a third less than the rate a year earlier.

Last week, figures showed that house building in the US in March fell to its second lowest level on record.

The average sale price of a new home stood at $258,000 (£175,000).

The stockpile of new homes awaiting sale also shrunk - there were 311,000 new homes for sale at the end of March, down 5.5% from 328,000 in February.

At the current sales pace, the Commerce Department said it would take almost 11 months to exhaust the supply of new homes on the market.

The smaller-than-expected fall is seen by many analysts as evidence that the US housing market is beginning to stabilise.



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