Sales of new single-family homes rose 1.7% in October from a September level that was revised down sharply, while the median sales price plunged, showing ongoing weakness in the ailing housing sector.
New single-family home sales rose to an annual rate of 728,000 from a downwardly revised rate of 716,000 in September, the Commerce Department said.
October's rise was the first since April, but it came after a revised September sales pace figure that was the lowest since January 1996.
Analysts polled by Reuters were expecting October sales to fall to an annual rate of 750,000 from the September previously reported rate of 770,000.
Analysts noted that while the sales pace climbed in October, it started from downwardly revised figures in prior months.
"The overall picture is housing is still going to decline at least for the rest of this year," said Adam York, economic analyst at Wachovia Economics in Charlotte, North Carolina. "We
would not be willing to call September the bottom."