New home sales plunge 15.4% in March as virus hits

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This April 16, 2020 photo shows a real estate company sign that marks a home for sale in Harmony, Pa. U.S. new home sales plunged 15.4% in March as the lockdowns that began in the middle of the month began to rattle the housing market. The Commerce Department reported Thursday, April 23, that sales of new single-family homes dropped to a seasonally ajdjusted annual rate of 627,000 last month after sales had fallen 4.6% in February. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. new home sales plunged 15.4% in March as a winding down in the middle of the month due to the coronavirus began to rattle the breadth of the housing market.

The Commerce Department reported Thursday that sales of new single-family homes dropped to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 627,000 last month after sales had fallen 4.6% in February.

The decline was expected, though economists say it will grow much worse as the country struggles with a shutdown that has thrown millions of people out of work and disrupted wide swaths of the economy.

The report said that the median price for a new home sold in March was $321,400, down 2.6% from a median price of $330,100 in February.

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