WASHINGTON (Reuters) — Sales of new homes soared 9.4% in February, the largest jump in more than four years and well above Wall Street forecasts, as sales rose nationwide, a government report showed Thursday.
New single-family home sales rose to a 1.226 million unit annual rate last month from an upwardly revised pace of 1.121 million in January, the Commerce Department said.
Economists had expected sales to climb more modestly to a 1.150 million unit rate from the 1.106 million pace originally reported for January. The increase was the largest since December 2000 and took the sales pace back to its December 2004 level.
Sales rose in all four regions of the country. They shot up 20.3% in the Northeast, 9.9% in the Midwest and 7.4% in the West. In the South, which boasts the lion’s share of housing activity, sales climbed 9% to a record pace of 619,000.