The rate of new single-family home sales fell about 15.3 percent in November compared to November 2005 and increased about 3.4 percent compared to October 2006, the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of new single-family home sales reached about 1.05 million in November, according to the report. Sales reached an annual low of about 1.01 million in October — compared to the annual high of 1.17 million in January.

This seasonally adjusted annual rate is a projection of a monthly sales total over a 12-month period, adjusted to account for seasonal fluctuations in sales activity.

The median sales price of new houses sold in November 2006 was $251,700, up 5.8 percent compared to November 2005, while the average sales price was $294,900, up 0.2 percent compared to November 2005. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of November was 545,000, which represents a supply of 6.3 months at the current sales rate.

A for-sale supply of greater than six months is generally considered to be more favorable for buyers, while a supply of less than six months favors sellers. The supply hit an annual high of 7.2 months in July.

Regionally, new-home sales dropped about 42.4 percent in the Northeast, 19.2 percent in the South, and 9 percent in the West from November 2005 to November 2006 while rising about 1.2 percent in the Midwest.

Statistics are estimated from sample surveys, the agencies noted, and are subject to sampling variability as well as nonsampling error, including bias and variance from response, nonreporting and undercoverage.

Changes in seasonally adjusted statistics often show irregular movement — it takes six months to establish a trend for new houses sold. Preliminary new-home sales figures are subject to revision due to the survey methodology and definitions used. The survey is primarily based on a sample of houses selected from building permits.

A “sale” is defined as a deposit taken or sales agreement signed, and a sale can occur prior to a permit being issued. An estimate of these prior sales is included in the sales figure. On average, the preliminary seasonally adjusted estimate of total sales is revised about 3 percent.

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