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Sales of new U.S. single-family homes fell in February after surging in the prior month, and could decline further because of the coronavirus pandemic, which is boosting unemployment and severely disrupting economic activity.

The Commerce Department said on Tuesday new home sales dropped 4.4 per cent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 765,000 units last month. January’s sales pace was revised sharply higher to 800,000 units from the previously reported 764,000 units. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast new home sales, which account for more than 10 per cent of housing market sales, declining 2.0 per cent to a pace of 750,000 units in February.