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US new-home sales fell in Dec., sales for year up

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In this Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, photo a new home is constructed in Pepper Pike, Ohio. U.S. home construction surges 12.1 percent in December to end best year since 2008. AP/Tony Dejak

WASHINGTON — Sales of new U.S. homes cooled off in December compared with November, but sales for the entire year were the best since 2009.

The Commerce Department says new-home sales fell 7.3 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 369,000. That’s down from November’s rate, which was the fastest in 2 ½ years.

For the year, sales rose to 367,000, the most since 2009. Even with the annual gain, sales remain far below the 700,000 level that economists consider healthy.

The housing market began to recover in 2012, helped by steady job gains and record-low mortgage rates


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