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New home sales decline in December

Sales of new homes fell in December, a drop that missed expectations and signaled the housing market slowed to end the year.

Sales of recently built homes dropped 7.0% from November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 414,000, the Commerce Department said Monday. November’s rate was also revised downward from 464,000 to 445,000.

New home sales had been strong recently despite weakness in other housing market indicators, such as sales of previously owned homes. New home sales fell in all regions, except the Midwest where they rose 17.6% from November. Sales dropped 8.8% in the West.

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While December’s data represent a pullback, last year saw renewed interest among home buyers for new construction.

Sales of new homes rose 4.5% from December 2012. By year’s end, an estimated 428,000 new homes sold in 2013, 16.4% more than the previous year.

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