WASHINGTON -- Sales of new U.S. homes jumped last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 389,000, the highest level since a homebuyer's tax credit boosted sales in April 2010.
The Commerce Department says new home sales rose 5.7 percent in September, up from 368,000 in August. Sales have risen 27.1 percent in the past year. That's the strongest yearly gain since February, although sales are still well below healthy levels.
The figures do suggest the housing recovery is strengthening. Home prices are rising, builders are more confident and are breaking ground on more homes and sales of previously occupied homes have increased in the past year.
Rising sales are keeping inventories low. There were 145,000 new homes for sale at the end of September, near the record low of 143,000.