Sales of newly built homes spiked nearly 16% in January, another indication of strong momentum in housing.
The Commerce Department said sales of newly built, single-family houses rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 437,000 units built last month. That was 15.6% above the prior month and 28.9% above the same month the year before.
New home sales statistics can be volatile but the market for newly built homes has climbed over the last year after hitting a historic low in 2011. Demand for newly built homes has gained as the market for previously owned houses has grown competitive among investors and cash buyers.
Lending requirements for would-be buyers remain strict and supply limited. The Commerce Department estimated that the number of new homes available for sale at the end of last month was 150,000. That represents a supply of just over four months.
The median price for newly built houses in January was $226,400.