WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New single-family home sales rose in November but to a lower- than- expected rate , a government report showed on Thursday, highlighting the weakness in the housing market even as the broader economic recovery gains momentum.
The Commerce Department said sales increased 5.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted 290,000 unit annual rate after a downwardly revised 275,000 unit pace in October.
Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast new home sales rising to a 300,000 unit pace in November from a previously reported 283,000 unit rate. Compared to November last year, sales were down 21.2 percent.
Housing remains mired in weakness against the backdrop of a 9.8 percent unemployment rate and high foreclosures. Data on Wednesday showed sales of previously owned homes rose last month but remained at depressed levels.
At November’s home sales pace, the supply of new homes on the market fell to 8.2 months’ worth from 8.8 months’ worth in October. There were 197,000 new homes available for sale in November, the lowest since March 1968.
The median sales price for a new home increased 8.0 percent last month from October to $213,000. Compared with November last year, the median price fell 2.7 percent.
Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci