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.