) -- Sales of newly built homes jumped 11.1% in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 300,000, the Commerce Department said early Monday, a bigger jump than expected.
The figure was expected to come in at a rate of 280,000, according to consensus estimates at
sales of newly built homes plunged in February to a revised rate of 270,000, one of the worst rates on record since 1962.
March's new-home sales figure remained 21.9% below year-earlier levels.
The median sale price of new homes sold last month was $213,800; the average sales price was $246,800.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, there were 183,000 new homes for sale at the end of March, representing a 7.3-month supply at the current sales rate.
Data released last week showed that
existing-home sales rose 3.7% in March to a slightly better-than-expected seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.1 million units, according to the National Association of Realtors.
March's rate of home resales remained 6.3% below year-earlier levels, and 24.8% below the cyclical peak of 6.49 million units in Nov. 2009, which was the first month following the initial deadline for the
first-time homebuyer tax credit.
SPDR S&P Homebuilders
, an exchange-traded fund that tracks the homebuilder sector, remains around 60% off its peak of $46.08 in early 2006. The
iShares Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction
ETF remains more than 70% off its peak of $50.10 in the spring of 2006.
Stocks in the homebuilder sector were mixed Monday morning.
Among individual builders,
declined 0.4% and
, recently added to
conviction buy list, shed 0.5%.
was lower by 0.4%.
-- Written by Miriam Marcus Reimer in New York.
>To contact the writer of this article, click here:
>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to
>To submit a news tip, send an email to:
READERS ALSO LIKE:
Get more stock ideas and investing advice on our sister site,
Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.