Americans looking to buy newly built homes evidently brushed off concerns about the government shutdown in October, pushing up sales to their highest level in fourth months on the lure of lower prices. New U.S. homes sold at an annual rate of 444,000 in October, up 25.4% from 354,000 in September, the government said Wednesday. Economists polled by MarketWatch forecast sales to total a seasonally adjusted 419,000 in October. The collection of sales data for both months was delayed by the federal shutdown, prompting the government to release the information on the same day. Demand in October was strong across the country, with double-digit percent gains in all four major regions. Part of what drove sales was a decline in prices and more demand for lower-prices homes, a trend that typically emerges in the colder months. The median price of new homes fell 4.5% on a monthly basis, and dropped 0.6% year-on-year, to $245,800 in October. That's the lowest level since November 2012. The supply of new homes on the U.S. market, meanwhile, sank to 4.9 months in October at the current sales pace from 6.4 months in September. New home sales are 21.6% higher compared to one year ago.