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New home sales plunge 15.4% in March as virus hits

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WASHINGTON — U.S. new home sales plunged 15.4% in March as the coronavirus-related shutdowns that began in the middle of the month began to rattle the housing market. The Commerce Department reported Thursday that sales of new single-family homes dropped to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 627,000 last month after sales had fallen 4.6% in February. The decline was in line with expectations with economists forecasting further sharp declines in coming months as the country struggles with a shutdown that has thrown millions of people out of work and disrupted wide swaths of the economy.

Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press