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Sales of new US homes slip

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Sales of new homes fell in February after climbing to the highest level in more than four years in January.

The Commerce Department says that sales of new homes dropped to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 411,000 in February. That is a decline of 4.6 percent from the January level of 431,000, which had been the strongest sales pace since September 2008.

The decline in February still left sales 12.3 percent higher than a year ago. While sales remain below the 700,000 level considered healthy, the housing recovery is gaining strength and is starting to look sustainable. Steady job creation and near record-low mortgage rates are spurring sales.

The median price of a new home sold in February was $246,800, up 2.9 percent from a year ago.

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