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Sales of new homes decreased another 3.5 percent in October, falling to a level not seen since the last recession, the government said today.

Sales totaled a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 491,000, the Departments of Commerce and Housing and Urban Development said in a joint release.

That was the lowest since 480,000 new homes were sold in October 1982, a month before the 1981-82 recession ended.

The government reported the median price jumped 7.9 percent, to $121,800, while the average price advanced 9.8 percent, to $157,500.

Sales in the Northeast, which tumbled to a recent low of 57,000 units in September, rebounded 47.4 percent in October to an annual rate of 84,000 units.

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