New home sales hit a 7- year high
Americans scooped up more new homes in May, lifting sales to a seven- year high.
The positive gain provides another sign that the housing market strengthened as spring neared an end. Earlier this week, the National Assn. of Realtors reported that previously owned homes last month sold at the fastest pace in nearly six years.
For new homes, sales jumped 2.2% from April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 546,000, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. That was the highest level since early 2008 and was higher than analysts had expected.
Part of the recent improvement in the housing market is a sense of urgency among would- be buyers, real estate agents say. Families are looking to lock in low mortgage rates before an expected short- term rate increase later this year by the Federal Reserve.
The new home figures are notoriously volatile because of a small sample size. But IHS Global Insight economists noted that the Commerce Department revised sales up by 34,000 over the last three months and that a moving average also hit a seven- year high.
Moody’s home- building analyst Tiina Siilaberg characterized the improvement from April as “slight.”