New-home sales jump 15.6%

Sales of new single-family houses in January 2013 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 437,000, up 15.6% from the December rate.

The new-home sales figure, released jointly Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, is the highest since July 2008, when new sales were at a pace of 477,000. 

The median sales price of new houses sold in January 2013 was $226,400, according to the government report. The average sales price was $286,300. 

The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of January was 150,000. This represents a supply of 4.1 months at the current sales rate.