New-home sales show signs of strength in May

Sales of new homes in May rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 369,000, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The May figure is up 7.6% over April and marks an increase of 19.8% above May 2011.

The May figure was the highest in two years (since April 2010) and was aided by factors including low interest rates, housing affordability and warm weather. Most analysts had expected the May rate to fall short of 350,000. 

The median sales price of new houses sold in May 2012 was $234,500; the average sales price was $273,900. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of May was 145,000. This represents a supply of 4.7 months at the current sales rate, according to the Commerce Department.