New-home sales jumped 3.4% in November and inventories of unsold homes declined to a five-month low, according to a government report that included upward revisions in the sales numbers for the previous three months.The U.S. Census Bureau reported that new single-family home sales rose from a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.01 million in October to 1.05 million in November. While a 6.3-month supply of unsold newly constructed homes is still high, Fannie Mae chief economist David Berson said the November report shows that builders are doing a good job of reducing their inventories. "The housing downturn is not over, but the worst is behind us," Mr. Berson said. The Fannie economist said he does not expect new-home sales to fall much below their recent levels. He is forecasting total new-home sales of 980,000 in 2007, but he conceded that he is considering a "modest" upward revision due to the Census Bureau report.

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