The surprisingly strong gain suggests lower mortgage rates and rising wages are helping the housing market regain its footing after stumbling last year. (Photo: Shutterstock) The surprisingly strong gain suggests lower mortgage rates and rising wages are helping the housing market regain its footing after stumbling last year. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Sales of new U.S. homes unexpectedly rose in March, climbing to a 16-month high to cap the first quarter with a third straight increase that reflects a boost from lower borrowing costs.

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