WASHINGTON — Sales of new U.S. homes rose in May to the highest level in six years, providing the strongest signal yet that housing is recovering.
New home sales jumped 18.6 percent last month following a 3.7 percent increase in April, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. The gains followed declines in February and March.
The big May sales increase pushed the seasonally adjusted annual sales rate to 504,000, the highest since May 2008.
“This is the strongest level since the end of the recession and is an encouraging sign that housing activity improved in the second quarter,” Cooper Howes, an economist at Barclays Research, said in an analyst note.