US new home sales revive in November

US existing homes sales fell in August to its lowest level in more than a year as prices continued to rise, with economists blaming tight supply despite some impact seen from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma (AFP Photo/NICHOLAS KAMM)
US existing homes sales fell in August to its lowest level in more than a year as prices continued to rise, with economists blaming tight supply despite some impact seen from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma (AFP Photo/NICHOLAS KAMM)

Washington (AFP) - Sales of new homes in the United States in November rose to their highest level since July, Commerce Department figures released Friday showed.

New single-family houses sold at a seasonally adjusted rate of 592,000, 5.2 percent above October's level, handily surpassing an analyst forecast which predicted a rate of only 573,000 for the month.

Year-on-year, sales were 16.5 percent above the same month in 2015.

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The Commerce Department data coincided with industry figures released this week which showed sales of existing homes in November hitting their fastest pace since 2007, with 5.61 million condos, co-ops and single-family homes changing hands.

According to Friday's report, the median sale price was $305,400.

The estimated number of new houses for sale stood at 250,000 by the end of November, a supply of 5.1 months at the current rate, down from 5.4 months a year ago, pointing to a shrinking stock.

Jim O'Sullivan, chief US economist at High Frequency Economics, said the November figures confirmed an overall upward trend in sales.

"Still unclear is the extent to which the recent rise in mortgage rates will hurt momentum," he wrote in a note to clients.

"On the positive side, both consumer and builder confidence have been rising."

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