New home sales in the U.S. showed a substantial rebound in the month of January, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Tuesday, with sales reaching their highest level in well over four years.
The Commerce Department said new home sales surged up by 15.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 437,000 in January from the revised December rate of 378,000.
Economists had been expecting new home sales to show a more modest increase to an annual rate of 381,000 from the 369,000 originally reported for the previous month.
With the much bigger than expected rebound, new home sales rose to their highest level since reaching an annual rate of 477,000 in July of 2008.
The report also showed that the annual rate of new home sales in January is up by 28.9 percent compared to the January 2012 estimate of 339,000.
A jump in new home sales in the West contributed to the bigger than expected increase, with new home sales in the region soaring 45.3 percent to an annual rate of 125,000.
New home sales in the Northeast also surged up by 27.6 percent, while sales in the Midwest rose by 11.1 percent and sales in the South edged up by 3.2 percent.
The Commerce Department also said the median sales price of new houses sold in January was $226,400, down 9.4 percent from $ 249,800 in December but up 2.1 percent from $ 221,700 in the same month a year ago.
The report also showed a seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of January of 150,000, unchanged from the previous month.
The inventory level represents 4.1 months of supply at the current sales rate compared to 4.8 months of supply in December. The months of supply represents a nearly eight-year low.
Last Thursday, the National Association of Realtors released a separate report showing that existing home sales saw a modest rebound in January.
NAR said existing home sales rose 0.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.92 million in January after falling 1.2 percent to a downwardly revised 4.90 million in December.
The rebound came as a surprise to economists, who had expected existing home sales to dip to an annual rate of 4.90 million from the 4.94 million originally reported for the previous month.
by RTT Staff Writer
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