The annual sales pace for November was the quickest since April 2010. In October, sales were revised down to 361,000 from an initial reading of 368,000. The revisions to October may reflect slowing activity due to the landfall of Superstorm Sandy late in the month.
Sales in the Northeast fell to 33,000 in October from 24,000 in September while sales in the South also declined, to 180,000 from 208,000. Sales in both regions rebounded in November, with sales in the Northeast rising to 27,000 and to 218,000 in the South.
The median sales price of new houses sold in November climbed 3.7 percent to $246,200 from $237,500 in the prior month. The inventory of new homes on the market fell to 4.7 months in November at the current sales rate, from 4.9 months in October.
New home building is expected to add to economic growth this year for the first time since 2005.
“Under our baseline outlook in which the resolution of the fiscal cliff avoids a significant disruption to economic activity, our view is that the gradual improvement in the pace of new home sales in 2012 is likely to continue in 2013,” Michael Gapen, an economist at Barclays Capital, said in a note to clients.