Sales of new single-family homes dropped 7.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted 593,000-unit annual rate last month, the National Association of Home Builders said, citing government data. The figures follow upward revised numbers from December 2017.

The drop is not a major issue, said NAHB senior economist Michael Neal.

"The moderation in new home sales may be attributable to the interest rate environment, which could be causing short-term market volatility," Neal said. "However, the underlying economic fundamentals for housing demand remain strong and we expect more prospective home buyers to enter the market in 2018."

At the current sales rate, the 301,000 new homes on the market represent a six-month supply, the association said. The median sales price was $323,000.

"New home sales have taken a pause this month, but our builders are reporting confidence in the overall market and future sales conditions," said NAHB Chairman Randy Noel, a custom home builder from LaPlace, Louisiana. "With strong consumer demand for housing, we expect the sales numbers to move forward in the months ahead."