National News

Feb 26, 2013 11:03 AM by Associated Press

US new-home sales jump to highest in 4 years

WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. new-home sales jumped in January from the previous month to the highest level since July 2008, a sign that the housing recovery is accelerating.

The Commerce Department says new-home sales rose nearly 16 percent in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 437,000. The percentage increase was the largest in nearly 20 years.

Steady job creation and near record-low mortgage rates are spurring more Americans to buy houses. At the same time, the number of previously occupied homes for sale is at a 13-year low. That shortage creates more demand for new homes.

Still, the increases are coming from depressed levels. New-home sales plummeted to a record low in 2011. And sales are still well below the 700,000 annual level that economists consider healthy.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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