New home sales made a U-turn after falling 4.6% in February to 411,000 homes sold. The sales of new single-family homes inched up 1.5% in March to 417,000.
March sales are up a more dramatic 18.5% from the year-ago estimate of 352,000, according to data from the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Analysts at Econoday believe the housing sector is moving forward right now, but not very quickly or very much.
"Yesterday's existing home sales report showed a dip in March with today's new home sales report showing a rise but one that's lower than expected. New home sales rose 1.5% in March in an easy comparison with an unusually weak month in February," Econoday analysts said.
The median sales price of new homes sold in March picked up slightly from $246,800 in February to $247,000 in the most recent month. March’s average sales price was $279,000, down significantly from $313,700.
At the end of March, the number of new homes for sale rose to 153,00 units, compared to 152,000 units in February. This represents a 4.4-month supply of homes at today’s sales pace, unchanged from February.
"Today's report has stopped the Dow's opening rally in its tracks. The spring season, beginning with this month, will really be the big test for the housing market which going into the season isn't showing much momentum," Econoday analysts noted.
Capital Economics added, "After the weaker than expected existing home sales figures, the increase in new home sales in March comes as a bit of a relief. The rise was only slight, but the indications are that activity will post further gains later this year."