Jan new home sales down 12.6% to 284,000 pace (by Greg Robb)
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - U.S. new home sales fell in January, almost completely retracing the strong gain seen in December, the Commerce Department estimated Thursday. The decrease in new-home sales to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 284,000 was below the 300,000 pace expected by economists surveyed by MarketWatch. New-home sales in December rose a revised 15.7% to a 325,000 level compared with the previous estimate of a 17.5% rise to 329,000. New-home sales are down 18.6% compared with a year ago. The supply of new homes fell 0.5% to 188,000 units. The supply in relation to sales rose to 7.9 months in January from 7.0 months in December. Median sales prices have risen 5.7% in the past year to $230,600.