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US sales of new homes rise 10.7 pct. in October, propelled by buying in Northeast

WASHINGTON — Sales of new homes recovered in October after suffering a steep drop in September, indicating that the housing market may be stabilizing.

The Commerce Department says new-home sales climbed 10.7 per cent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 495,000. This rebound followed a 12.9 per cent plunge in the sales rate during September.

The new-home sales report tends to be volatile from month to month. Home-buying surged 135.5 per cent in the Northeast in October, while rising less aggressively in the Midwest and South. Sales dropped slightly in the West.

Purchases of new homes have surged 15.7 per cent year-to-date, benefiting from the solid hiring gains and low mortgage rates.

But prices dipped last month. The median new-home sales price has fallen 8.5 per cent from a year ago to $281,500.

Josh Boak, The Associated Press

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