Sales of new single-family homes surged to a 5½-year high in January, which could ease concerns of a sharp slowdown in the housing market.
The Commerce Department said Wednesday that sales jumped 9.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 468,000 units, the highest level since July 2008.
December's sales were revised up to a 427,000-unit pace from the previously reported 414,000-unit rate. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast new home sales, which are measured when contracts are signed, falling to a 400,000-unit pace in January.
Sales in the Northeast soared 73.7 percent to a seven-month high, while the South recorded a 10.4 percent rise in transactions to a more than five-year high.