WASHINGTON — Sales of new homes slipped slightly in November after a big surge the previous month. The figures add to evidence that the housing market may be struggling to sustain the pace of its recovery.
Sales dipped 2.1 percent in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 464,000, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. In October, new-home sales had shot up 17.6 percent, the biggest monthly gain in more two decades. October’s annual sales pace of 474,000 was the highest since July 2008.
The annual pace of new-home sales remains well below the 700,000 generally consistent with a healthy market.
Before the rebound in October, home sales had slowed over the summer. They did so after mortgage rates spiked amid investor concerns about how fast the Federal Reserve would remove its support for the economy.
Still, analysts noted that the slight drop in November sales followed a surge in October, with some signs suggesting further gains.
“The housing recovery remains well in place,” said Mark Vitner, senior economist at Wells Fargo.
He noted that mortgage rates are still low by historic standards and should support sales next year.
In a separate report, the Mortgage Bankers Association said the number of Americans applying for mortgages fell 6.3 percent last week from the previous week. Applications have reached a 13-year low, down 63 percent from their May peak.
Much of the decline reflects a drop-off in refinancings as rates have risen. The average for the 30-year mortgage was 4.47 percent last week, up nearly a full percentage point from last spring.