Sales of new homes fell unexpectedly to the lowest level on record in February as stormy winter weather kept buyers on the sidelines. The weak results make clear the difficulties facing the housing industry as it tries to recover from the worst slump in decades.
The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that new home sales fell 2.2 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual sales pace of 308,000.
It was the fourth consecutive month of declines and the worst showing on records dating to 1963. January's results, meanwhile, were revised upward slightly to a pace of 315,000.
Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected sales would rise to an annual rate of 320,000.
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