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U.S. New Home Sales Unexpectedly Plunge 9.4% In July

New home sales in the U.S. unexpectedly saw a substantial decrease in the month of July, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Wednesday.

The report said new home sales plunged by 9.4 percent to an annual rate of 571,000 in July from the revised June rate of 630,000.

The steep drop surprised economists, who had expected new home sales to inch up to a rate of 612,000 from the 610,000 originally reported for the previous month.

The unexpected decline in new home sales was partly due to weakness in the Northeast and West, where sales plummeted by 23.8 percent and 21.3 percent, respectively.

New home sales in the South also fell by 4.1 percent during the month, while new home sales in the Midwest climbed by 6.2 percent.

Meanwhile, the report said the median sales price of new houses sold in July was $313,700, up 0.7 percent from $311,600 in June and up 6.3 percent from $295,000 a year ago.

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The Commerce Department also said there were an estimated 276,000 new houses for sale at the end of July compared to 272,000 at the end of the previous month.