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November New Home Sales Rise 4.4% to 377,000 Annual Rate

WASHINGTON — Sales of new single-family houses rose 4.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 377,000 in November, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.

The accelerated sales pace followed a revised October rate of 361,000, originally reported as 368,000.

The November rate was nearly right on the 378,000 pace projected by economists polled by Thomson Reuters, and was 15.3% above the November 2011 estimate of 327,000. The 377,000 pace in November 2012 represents the fastest sales rate since a 422,000 mark in April 2010.

New home sales were a mixed bag regionally. Sales rose 21.1% to 218,000 in the South, the largest month-over-month increase in that region since a 26.4% jump reported in July 1995. Sales also rose 12.5% to 27,000 in the Northeast.

Partially offsetting those gains were declines in the West, where sales fell 17.8% to 83,000, and in the Midwest where sales dropped 12.5% to 49,000.

The median sales price of new houses increased 3.7% to $246,200 in November, from the revised October median price of $237,500. On a year-over-year basis, the median price jumped 14.9% from $214,300 in November 2011.

The seasonally adjusted estimate of new homes for sale at the end of November was 149,000, up from the previous month's 147,000. That represents a supply of 4.7 months at the current sales rate.

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