New home sales jump 14.8 percent in April |

New home sales jump 14.8 percent in April

AP Economics Writer
Vail, CO Colorado

WASHINGTON – Sales of new homes posted another large gain in April as buyers rushed to sign contracts before government tax credits expired.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that sales of new single-family homes jumped 14.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 504,000 units. The April gain followed a 29.8 percent surge in March, the biggest monthly increase in 47 years.

Activity in both months was pushed higher by a stampede of buyers trying to sign sales contracts before tax credits expired on April 30. Historically low mortgage rates also helped fuel purchases. But sales are expected to slump in the coming months as households deal with slow job growth and tight credit.

The big jump in sales activity did not boost home values. The median sales price fell to $198,400, 9.6 percent below the March median price for a new home. The median is the midpoint where half the homes sold for more and half for less.

The two months of big sales increases pushed sales activity to the highest level since May 2008. But sales remained well below the peaks set at the height of the housing boom.

Sales showed strength in all areas of the country in April except the Northeast. Activity there showed no change last month.

Sales were up 31.6 percent in the Midwest, 21.7 percent in the West and 10.8 percent in the South.

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