New home sales soared 26.9% in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 411,000, the largest monthly increase in 43 years, rebounding from a record low in February, the Commerce Department reported today.

The March sales gain ended a four-month streak of new home sales declines, which began in November. Sales in February were revised higher to 324,000 from 308,000 reported last month, but it was still a record low for monthly new home sales. January sales were also revised higher to 338,000 from 315,000.

Economists polled by Thomson Reuters expected 330,000 new home sales for the month, according to the median estimate.

The median sales price gained 4.3% in March to $214,000 from a year ago and fell 3.4% from February. The annual median price increased 5.2% in February.

New home inventories declined in March. The number of new homes for sale fell to 228,000, the lowest level since March 1971. The supply of new homes fell to 7.6 months, the lowest level since September 2006.

Existing home sales increased 6.8% in March, the National Association of Realtors reported Thursday.

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