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November drop in new home sales buoyed by revised numbers in previous months

WASHINGTON — New home sales dipped in November, but the government released more positive figures for the previous three months, a sign that housing may be regaining strength after a summer lull.

Sales slipped 2.1 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 464,000, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. The slight drop occurred after sales had surged to a rate of 474,000 in October. That was the fastest pace since 2008 and was 17.6 percent above the September level — the biggest one-month jump in 21 years.

The annual pace of new home sales remains well below the 700,000 generally consistent with a healthy market. But economists are encouraged by a pickup in sales after a slowdown likely caused by higher mortgage rates.

The government's report Tuesday revised up new home sales for the three months preceding November. August's total was revised up by 9,000, September's by 49,000 and October's by 30,000.

"The rebound in sales following the sharp slowdown in July was much stronger than originally reported," said Michael Gapen, an economist at Barclays.

Mark Vitner, senior economist at Well Fargo, said, "The housing recovery remains well in place."

The median price of a new home sold in November rose to $270,900, up 10.6 percent from a year ago.

November drop in new home sales buoyed by revised numbers in previous months 12/24/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 24, 2013 6:56pm]
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