Sales of newly built U.S. single-family homes rose slightly less than expected in April, a government report showed on Thursday, and the previous month's figures were revised down to show a steeper fall.

The Commerce Department said sales rose 0.3 percent to a 352,000 annual pace, from a downwardly revised 351,000 in March. March sales were revised to show a 3 percent decline, which had been reported as a 0.6 percent slide.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast sales at a 360,000 rate in April.

The median sales price in April fell 14.9 percent to $209,700 from a year earlier, the department said. The median marks the half-way point, with half of all houses sold above that level and half below. However compared to March, the median price was up 3.7 percent, the biggest increase since November.

The inventory of homes available for sale in April fell 4.2 percent to 297,000, the lowest level since May 2001. April's sales pace left the supply of homes available for sale at 10.1 months' worth, the lowest since a matching reading in July.