US new-home sales rise 5.4 pct. in July; buying in Northeast fuels rebound from June dip

Economic Indicators Associated Press

Americans stepped up their purchases of new homes in July, with sales surging in the Northeast.

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The Commerce Department says new-home sales rose 5.4 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 507,000, recovering from a slide in purchases in June.

Buyers have crowded into the housing market this year. Backed by solid job growth over the past two years and relatively low mortgage rates, sales of new homes jumped 21.2 percent through the first half of 2015, although the government sales report is volatile on a monthly basis.

New-home purchases climbed 23.1 percent in the Northeast, with smaller gains in the South and West. Sales slumped in the Midwest.

The median sales price has risen 2 percent to $285,900 over the past 12 months.