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New Home Sales Take Biggest Fall in Nearly 13 Years

Reuters
Wednesday, 27 Feb 2008 | 11:43 AM ET

New U.S. single-family home sales fell 2.8 percent in January to the lowest rate in nearly 13 years while the median sales price slipped and the housing overstock shrank, according to a government report on Wednesday that delivered more grim news for the ailing housing sector.

AP

New home sales fell to an annual rate of 588,000 from an upwardly revised rate of 605,000 in December, the Commerce Department said.

Economists polled by Reuters were expecting January sales to fall to an annual rate of 600,000 from the December previously reported rate of 604,000.

In January, the median sales price for a new home fell 15.1 percent $216,000 from $254,400 a year ago.

There were 482,000 homes for sale at the end of the month, a 2.2 percent decline from December, but the months' supply crept up slightly to 9.9 months at the current pace, the highest since October 1981.

The report came a day after the National Association of Realtors reported that sales on previously owned homes slid for the sixth straight month while prices tumbled 4.6 percent.

In Wednesday's Commerce report, the West was the only region to see an uptick of the sales pace with a 2.2 percent rise while sales slid 10.3 percent in the Northeast, 7.6 percent in the Midwest and 2.4 percent in the South.

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