FXstreet.com (Barcelona) - Sales of new houses have decreased in December for the second consecutive time, and the decrease has been sharply larger then expected, according to data released by the Commerce Department.

Sales of single family homes fell 4.7% in December to an annual rate of 604.000 units, from November's 634.000 annual rate, revised down from the initially released 647.000 annual rate. December's figures are sharply weaker than expected, the market consensus was around a 645.000 annual rate.

On the year, sales of new houses have fallen 40.7% from December 2006 estimate of 1,019,000 units. On the whole 2007 sales of new houses have been estimated 774,000, 26.4 % below the 2006 figure of 1,051,000 units.

The median price of the new houses sold in December was $219,200; the average sales price was $267,300.