US new-home sales fell 6.9% in April

Sales of new U.S. homes sank 6.9% in April, driven by a decline in the sale of homes worth less than $300,000 that are generally bought by middle class and first-time buyers.

The Commerce Department said Thursday that new homes sold at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 673,000 in April, down from 723,000 in March. Still, year-to-date home sales are running 6.7% above the pace set in 2018.

Buyers have been helped by lower mortgage rates and a solid job market. Yet higher prices and a lack of sales listings have been an obstacle this year for sales of new and existing homes, limiting the number of people who can afford to buy.

The median sales price of a new home jumped 8.8% from a year ago to $342,200.