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Sales of new US homes fell 3.3 percent in February

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Fewer people bought new U.S. homes in February. Sales fell to their slowest pace in five months, a sign that the housing market has yet to recover fully from brutal winter weather.

The Commerce Department says sales of new homes declined 3.3 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 440,000. That was down from a revised rate of 455,000 in January.

Buying dropped off during February in the Northeast, which was battered by snowstorms. It also fell in Western states, where last year's price increases have made homes less affordable.

New-home sales have declined 1.1 percent over the past 12 months. But economists expect sales to rebound as the weather improves and the spring buying season begins.

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