Sales of new single-family homes rose 1.7% to a 728,000 seasonally adjusted annual rate in October, according to data released by the Commerce Department yesterday. The October figure came after a downwardly revised 716,000 rate in September, originally reported as 770,000. IFR Markets’ poll of economists had predicted a 753,000 sales level for October.Sales of new homes were 23.5% below the 952,000 rate in October 2006, Commerce said. The supply of new homes at the current sales rate slid to 8.5 months from 9.0 months in September.

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