Americans ramped up their purchases of new homes in April to the highest level since January 2008, evidence of a strong start to the spring buying season.
The Commerce Department said Tuesday that new home sales jumped 16.6 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted rate of 619,000, up from a revised total of 531,000 in March.
Steady job gains and low mortgage rates have encouraged more Americans to buy new homes. That trend is driving home construction and helping support the economy.
The new home sales figures are notoriously volatile, particularly at the regional level. Last month, new home purchases leapt 53 percent in the Northeast and 19 percent in the West....