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U.S. new-home sales jump to highest in 4½ years

Published February 26, 2013 9:05 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

WASHINGTON • 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.