Photo2017 is off to a good start in terms of sales of new single-family houses.

The Commerce Department reports sales rose 3.7% last month to seasonally adjusted annual rate of 555,000, following a sales rate of 535,000 in December, which was revised downward from an initially reported 536,000.

The January rate is also 5.5% ahead of the year-ago pace of 526,000.

Sales advanced in all regions except for the West, where they declined 4.4%.

Prices and inventory

The median sales price for houses sold last month was $312,900, up $21,800 from January 2016, but down $3,300 from December. The median is the point at which half the houses sold for more and half sold for less.

The average sales price was $360,900, a year-over-year loss of $4,700 and down $18,000 from November.

The number of new houses for sale at the end of January totaled 265,000, which translates into a supply of 5.7 months at the current sales rate.

The complete report is available on the Commerce Department website.

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