Sales of new U.S. homes fell sharply last month, a sign that real estate continues to be a weak spot in the economy. 

New Home Sales Rise Sharply In October
Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

New home sales fell 8.1 percent in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 406,000, according to the Commerce Department. In the Northeast, new home sales were down 20 percent.

In New Jersey, there's been a stagnation in new home sales for the past year, according to Patrick O'Keefe, director of economic research at CohnReznick.

Why the decrease in new home sales?  O'Keefe thinks it's because customers are being cautious about where housing prices are going, and not because of fears about the economy or mortgage rates.

"Homebuyers, particularly in New Jersey, are not hitting the brakes, but they not leaning on the accelerator either," O'Keefe said.

The median sales price for a new home in June was 273,500, up 5.3 percent in the past 12 months.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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