US new home sales fall in February

The pace of new home sales in the United States slipped in February but remains much better than a year ago, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.

Sales of new single-family houses slowed to an annual rate of 411,000, compared to a revised January rate of 431,000.

But February's sales were still 12.3 percent up from February 2012, as the housing market has strengthened overall, thanks to pent-up demand and low interest rates.

Analysts say the market is being held back in part by tight supply. The supply of new homes on the market rose slightly in February but remained limited at 4.4 months' worth, 152,000 units.

The median sales price was slightly firmer at $246,800, compared to a median price in February 2012 of $239,900.