TIME real estate

New Homes Selling At Fastest Rate Since July 2008

New home sales increased 9.6 percent in January

Sales of new homes in January reached their fastest pace since July 2008, reviving hopes of a sturdy recovery in the housing market after growth slowed at the end of last year.

New home sales increased 9.6 percent in January to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 468,000, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday, easing concerns that rising interest rates were slowing house sales. Sales fell 3.8 percent in December and 1.8 percent in November. The annual rate is the highest since July 2008, when it hit 477,000 homes.

Economists are forecasting sales of new and previously occupied homes to rise in 2014, reports the Associated Press, boosting job gains and improving the economy. The median home price in January was up 3.4 percent from a year ago to $260,000, and interest rates on a 300-year mortgage increased to 4.33 percent last week.

Even while sales improved in January, cold winter weather slowed construction starts last month by 16 percent.

[AP]

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