Sales of new U.S. homes increased 4.5% in March, the third straight monthly gain as the housing market appears to be cautiously recovering from a mortgage-rate spike last year that caused homebuying to slump.
The Commerce Department said Tuesday that new homes sold at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 692,000 in March, up from 662,000 in February. For the first three months of 2019, new-home sales were up 1.7% compared with the same period last year.
March's sales pace was the strongest since November 2017, a sign that the market is building some momentum. New-home sales began to rebound after the average 30-year mortgage rate fell from its recent peak of 5% last November.