WASHINGTON - Sales of new single-family houses fell 8.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 350,000 in June, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.

The sharp decrease in the sales pace followed a revised May rate of 382,000, originally reported as 369,000.

The June rate was below the 370,000 median annual rate projected by economists polled by Thomson Reuters, but was 15.1% above the June 2011 estimate of 304,000.

New home sales fell drastically in the Northeast, plummeting 60% from the previous month. Sales fell 8.6% in the South, but rose 14.6%% in the Midwest and 2.1% in the West. The nosedive in the Northeast represented the largest decrease recorded in the region since regional data became available in January 1973.

The median sales price of new houses slipped 1.9% to $232,600 from the revised May price of $237,100. On a year-over-year basis, the median price fell 3.2%.

The seasonally adjusted estimate of new homes for sale at the end of June was 144,000, a 0.7% advance from the May figure of 143,000. That represents a supply of 4.9 months at the current sales rate.

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