New homes were sold at a record annual pace of 893,000 units in February, up 5% from January's revised pace of 852,000 units, the Commerce Department said Monday. Sales were up 9% from a year earlier.

The news surprised analysts, who had predicted that new homes would sell slower in February than in January. Concern that the strong housing market could signal inflationary pressure helped push the 30-year Treasury bond yield to 5.98% by early afternoon, its highest level since March 6.

Dean Christ, senior economist at the National Association of Home Builders, said new homes sold briskly in February, thanks to the strong economy, low interest rates, and unseasonably warm weather.

Last week, the National Association of Realtors said the annual pace of existing home sales in February also set a record- 4.75 million units.

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