WASHINGTON (AP) — Sales of U.S. new homes fell for a third straight month in February. But prices surged to their highest level in eight months, suggesting builders anticipate more demand in the months ahead.

The Commerce Department says new-home sales fell 1.6 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 313,000 homes. Sales have fallen nearly 7 percent since December.

The median sales price jumped more than 8 percent in February to $233,700. That's the highest level since June.

New homes account for a fraction of sales but they have a big impact on the economy. For each home built, three jobs and $90,000 in tax revenue are generated, according to the National Association of Home Builders.