Purchases of new homes dipped to their lowest level in a year in January, the Commerce Department reported recently.

The report shows that new home sales fell to a seasonally adjusted 914,000 unit annual rate in January, the slowest pace since January 2002. The percentage drop, at 15.1 percent, was the biggest one-month decline in nine years.

While analysts had been expecting sales to dip from the record pace seen in December, which was revised to a 1.077 million unit annual rate, the size of the decline was much larger than had been expected.