New, single-family home sales hit their highest level in six months in October, soaring by 25.4 percent from a month earlier to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 444,000, according to a report from the Commerce Department.
Sales were up 21.6 percent from October 2012, while median sales price in October was $245,800, a decrease of 0.6 percent from the same month last year.
The 16-day government shutdown delayed the Commerce Department's figures for September, so the latest report combines both September and October. In September, sales were down 6.6 percent from August.
The middle leads the way
The Midwest led all four regions of the country in gains in October with a surge of 34 percent.
Don Frommeyer, president of the National Association of Mortgage Professionals, said in a statement that October's strong sales reversed some of this summer's sales declines and signal a strong housing market next year.
He expects mortgage rates to remain on the low side in 2014, which will help propel the housing recovery. "The arrival of Janet Yellen as the new Federal Reserve's chairman should keep mortgage rates low, which will be another bonus for the forecast of the housing market," he said.
This week's 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose 11 basis points from a week earlier, to 4.55 percent. One year ago, the rate was 3.5 percent; four weeks ago, it was 4.35 percent.
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