The US Department of Commerce's Census Bureau reported on Monday that new home sales increased by 1.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual level of 661,000 units last month.

The pace of December sales was revised down to 651,000 units from 664,000 previously announced.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected new home sales to rise to 680,000.

New home sales are calculated at contract signing, making them a leading indicator of the US housing market.

However, sales may fluctuate on a monthly basis.

Sales rose 1.8 percent year-on-year in January.