US new home sales tumble 9.3 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans cut back their purchases of new homes in December as harsh winter weather dampened demand.

The Commerce Department said new-home sales skidded 9.3 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 625,000. It was the biggest drop since August 2016. November sales were revised lower — to 689,000 from an originally reported 733,000, but were still the strongest since October 2007.

December sales had been expected to fall after strong November figures, but the drop was steeper than economists had forecast.

Ben Ayers, senior economist at Nationwide, said the winter weather may have reduced sales last month. He expects that home-buying will “rebound nicely in the early months of 2018.”