New single-family home sales rose slightly in October as lower mortgage rates continued to support strong demand by homebuyers.The U.S. Census Bureau reported that new home sales rose 0.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.23 million in October from 1.22 million in September. Haseeb Ahmed, a senior economist at Economy.com, said he expects that November sales will also be strong, followed by a slight decline in December as another record year ends. Economy.com, based in West Chester, Pa., estimates that new-home sales will total 1.15 million to 1.18 million by year-end, and that there will be a 4% decline in 2005 sales due to rising interest rates. Despite an improving jobs market, "there is no pent-up demand," Mr. Ahmed said.

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