Sales of new single-family homes dropped 8.5% to a 526,000 seasonally adjusted annual rate in March, according to data released by the Commerce Department yesterday.

The March figure came after a downwardly revised 575,000 rate in February, a 5.3% drop originally reported as a 1.8% decrease to 590,000. IFR Markets’ poll of economists had predicted a 580,000 sales level for February.

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