Sales of new U.S. single-family homes increased to an annual rate of 315,000 in November, up 1.6 percent from October and 9.8 percent from November 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast sales at a 313,000-unit rate. 

The increase coincided with a 4 percent gain in existing home sales in November, according to the National Association of Realtors, another sign that the housing market is recovering.

Still, the annual rate is below the 323,000 new homes sold in 2010, making 2011 on pace to become the worst year for new home sales on record.

The median sales price of new homes was $214,000 in November, up 0.8 percent from $213,300 in October. The average sales price was $242,000, down slightly from $242,300 in October.

The seasonally adjusted estimate of new homes for sale at the end of November was 158,000, which represents a supply of six months at the current sales rate.

For more on U.S. housing, read our 2011 year in review and 2012 outlook.