US new homes sales rise 0.4% in October as prices climb

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US sales of new homes rose 0.4% last month, falling below expectations as housing prices continue to climb

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WASHINGTON – US sales of new homes rose 0.4% last month, falling below expectations as housing prices continue to climb.

The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that sales of new single-family homes rose at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 745,000 last month from 742,000 in September. Economists expected new home sales to come in at 795,000 in October at an annualized pace. And the September sales rate was revised down significantly from 800,000 in Commerce’s original report.

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New home sales were down 23% compared to a year earlier.

The average price of a new home, the point where half the homes sold for more and half for less, rose nearly 18% last month to a record $407,700 from a year earlier.

New home sales rose 11% from September to October in the Midwest and 0.2% in the South. They fell 11.8% in the Northeast and 1.1% in the West.

The housing market has been heating up, thanks to rock-bottom mortgage rates and lackluster demand from consumers put off by the pandemic last year.

On Monday, the National Association of Realtors reported that sales of pre-occupied homes rose 0.8% last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.3 million, the strongest annual pace since January.

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