New home sales unexpectedly fell to a record low in January, dampening hopes that the housing market is poised for a rebound. The Commerce Department said sales dropped 11.2% to a 309,000 unit annual rate – the lowest level since records started in January 1963 – from an upwardly revised 348,000 in December. Sales fell 6.1% from January 2009. It was the third straight month that new home sales fell. The government report showed the median sale price for a new home fell 5.6% last month from December 2009 to $203,500, the lowest since December 2003. The median sale price was down 2.4% from January 2009. The decline in new home sales is particularly disappointing, given that a home buyer tax credit is available for first time and repeat home buyers. The tax incentive runs out in June. In addition, a Federal Reserve program to purchase mortgage-related securities – to aid the housing market recovery – ends next month.