New-home sales fell 5.1% in December compared with the level of the previous month, according to new figures compiled by the U.S. Commerce Department.However, compared with sales in the same month a year ago, new-home sales rose slightly, by 0.8%. According to the government, sales of new single-family homes totaled a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.06 million units during the month. The median sales price of a new home was $197,600, and the average sales price totaled $261,100. The government said that 1,085,000 hew homes were sold during all of 2003, an 11.5% increase from the total of the year before. According to an analysis report by Greenwich Capital, "The drop in new home sales in December is surprising in view of the rebound in mortgage demand and existing homes toward year-end."

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