WASHINGTON — New home sales tumbled 16.9% to a seasonally adjusted rate of 250,000, a record low, as the median sales price dropped for the second consecutive month, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.

Severe winter storms hindered housing activity, leading to steep declines in home sales, prices, and groundbreakings in February.

January new home sales were revised higher to 301,000 from 284,000 reported last month.

In February, sales dropped to record lows in all regions, except the West. Data on new home sales goes back to January 1963.

Economists expected 290,000 new home sales.

The median sales price for new homes dropped to $202,100, down 8.9% from a year ago.

The median sales price, while not adjusted for inflation, dropped to the lowest level since December 2003. Only two months ago, the median sales price was $236,800.

Meanwhile, mortgage applications grew 2.7% in the week ended March 18, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, with the refinance and purchase indexes each growing 2.7%.

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