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US new home sales surge in March

April 25, 2003
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WASHINGTON, April 25 (Reuters) - Americans bought far more new homes than expected in March, a government report showed on Friday, as homebuyers took advantage of some of the lowest mortgage rates since the 1960s.

New home sales rose 7.3 percent to a 1.012 million unit annual rate last month, the Commerce Department said, exceeding analyst expectations for an 898,000 sales pace.

That followed a revised 3.3 percent drop in February. Commerce said there were more late home sales in that month than the department estimated, leading to the change from a previously reported drop of 8.1 percent.

Home sales in the Northeast of the country soared 82.5 percent, the largest rise since April 1993, while the sales rate in the South set a new record.

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