Sales of new single-family homes decreased 0.6% to a 342,000 seasonally adjusted annual rate in May, according to data released by the Commerce Department yesterday.

The May figure came after a downwardly revised 344,000 rate in April, originally reported as a 0.3% rise to 352,000. Thomson Reuters’ poll of economists had predicted a 360,000 sales level for May. New homes sales were 32.8% below the 509,000 rate in May 2008.

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