New Home Sales Rise 1.3% in November

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. sales of newly built homes increased 1.3% in November from the prior month, a sign that low mortgage rates are pushing up purchases as well as prices.

The Commerce Department said Monday that new single-family houses sold at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 719,000 last month. Sales surged in the Northeast and West, but they were flat in the Midwest and fell in the South.

New-home sales have increased 9.8% so far this year. The increase largely reflects a steady decline in mortgage rates, which has made borrowing cheaper and brought more people seeking to upgrade their house into the market.

Still, prices have moved upward as a result of construction lagging demand. The median new-home sales price was $330,800, up 7.3% from a year ago.