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US new homes sales rise 0.4% in October as prices climb

People walk by a sold sign in front of a house along the Erie Canal in Pittsford, New York, on Monday, Sept. 6, 2021. Sales of new homes jumped 14% in September to the fastest pace in six months as strong demand helped off rising prices. The Commerce Department reported Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021 that sales of new single-family homes rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 800,000 units last month after sales had fallen 1.4% in August. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey, file) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. sales of new homes edged up 0.4% last month, coming in below expectations as housing prices continued to climb.

The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that sales of new single-family homes rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 745,000 last month from 742,000 in September. Economists had expected October new home sales to come in at a 795,000 annual pace. And the September sales rate was revised sharply lower from 800,000 in Commerce's original report.

New home sales were down 23% from a year earlier.

The median price of a new home, the point where half the homes sold for more and half for less, rose to a record $407,700 last month, up nearly 18% from a year earlier.

New home sales rose 11% from September to October in the Midwest and 0.2% in the South. They fell 11.8% in the Northeast and 1.1% in the West.

The housing market has been hot, thanks to rock-bottom mortgage rates and pent-up demand from consumers locked in last year by the pandemic.

On Monday, the National Association of Realtors reported that sales of previously occupied homes rose 0.8% last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.3 million, strongest annual pace since January.