WASHINGTON -- A strong showing in the Northeast and South helped boost sales of new single-family houses 2.6% in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 703,000, the Commerce Department said.

September's increase followed a revised 7.9% rise in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 685,000. The August rise previously was reported as 9.7%. New-home sales have now risen for three straight months, despite higher mortgage rates.

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