US new-home sales tumble in December

Americans pulled back sharply from buying new homes in December, but sales for all of 2016 were the highest since 2007.

The Commerce Department says new-home sales last month fell 10.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate 536,000. Sales totaled 563,000 in 2016, up 12.2 percent over the past year.

New-home purchases fell in the Midwest, South and West last month and increased in the Northeast. Sales of new homes can be volatile on a monthly basis.

Low mortgage rates and an improving job market boosted sales for much of 2016. But borrowing has become pricier since the November presidential election. Average 30-year mortgage rates have climbed above 4 percent. While that remains low on a historical basis, the higher average has squeezed affordability and potentially limited sales.