WASHINGTON—U.S. sales of new homes edged up 0.4 percent last month, coming in below expectations as housing prices continued to climb.
The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that sales of new single-family homes rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 745,000 last month from 742,000 in September. Economists had expected October’s new home sales to come in at a 795,000 annual pace. And the September sales rate was revised sharply lower from 800,000 in Commerce’s original report.
New home sales were down 23 percent from a year earlier.
The median price of a new home, the point where half the homes sold for more and half for less, rose to a record $407,700 last month, up nearly 18 percent from a year earlier.
New home sales rose 11 percent from September to October in the Midwest and 0.2 percent in the South. They fell 11.8 percent in the Northeast and 1.1 percent in the West.
The housing market has been hot, thanks to rock-bottom mortgage rates and pent-up demand from consumers locked in last year by the pandemic.
On Monday, the National Association of Realtors reported that sales of previously occupied homes rose 0.8 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.3 million, the strongest annual pace since January.
By Paul Wiseman