Sales of new single-family houses rose 8.8 percent in December compared with the previous year to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 369,000, according to estimates released jointly by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development. Compared with the previous month, new home sales declined 7.3 percent.

The median sales price of new houses sold in December 2012 was $248,900; the average sales price was $304,000. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of December was 151,000. This represents a supply of 4.9 months at the current sales rate.

An estimated 367,000 new homes were sold in 2012. This is 19.9 percent above the 2011 figure of 306,000.