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Fewer Americans acquired new homes in March compared to February, dampening optimism that the housing market could see a material turnaround this year. Still, numbers are improved from a year ago.

The Commerce Department recorded 328,000 new single-family home sales in March, down 7.1% from the revised February estimate of 353,000 home sales.

The 7.1% home value drop is steeper than the 1.6% drop in new home sales experienced in February and the 5.4% decline recorded back in January. But it is up 7.5% from March of 2011, suggesting improvement from last year.

The median sales price of new homes sold in March hit $234,500, with the average sales price hovering at $291,000, the Commerce Department said. 

By the end of March, the seasonally adjusted estimate of new homes up for sale hit 144,000, which equals a 5.3-month supply at the current rate. 

kpanchuk@housingwire.com 

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