New-Home Sales Jumped in May

(Los Angeles Times/TNS) -

Americans scooped up more new homes in May, lifting sales to a seven-year high.

The Commerce Department reported Tuesday that sales of new single-family homes jumped 2.2 percent from April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 546,000. That was the highest level since early 2008.

The gain, which beat expectations, provides another sign that the housing market strengthened as spring neared an end. On Monday, the National Association of Realtors reported that previously owned homes last month sold at the fastest pace in nearly six years.

Real-estate agents say families are looking to lock in low mortgage rates before an expected short-term rate hike later this year from the Federal Reserve.

New-home sales in May rose sharply in the Northeast, while falling in both the Midwest and the South. In the West, sales jumped 13.1 percent.