The numbers: New-home sales ran at a seasonally adjusted annual 657,000 rate in November, the Commerce Department said Thursday. That was 17% higher than October’s sales pace and marked an 8-month high. That trounced the MarketWatch forecast of a 563,000 selling rate.

What happened: The government’s November report on sales of newly-constructed homes was delayed by the partial government shutdown. And as a reminder, new-home sales data are compiled based on small sample sizes, making them prone to hefty revisions. November’s data came with a reported margin of error of 20%.