With a drop new home sales in the South more than offsetting notable increases in sales in the Northeast and Midwest, the Commerce Department released a report on Wednesday showing that new home sales unexpectedly decreased in May.

The report showed that new home sales edged down 0.6 percent to an annual rate of 342,000 in May from a revised April rate of 344,000. Economists had expected sales to jump 2.3 percent to 360,000 from the 352,000 originally reported for the previous month.