U.S. new home sales jumped by 4.3% in January over December, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday morning, far exceeding expectations as a jump in housing market activity last year extended into the beginning of the new year. December’s month-over-month increase was also sharply upwardly revised to 5.5%, from the 1.6% rise previously reported.
The January jump brought new home sales to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 923,000, the highest level since October. The increase was led by a 12.6% jump in sales in the Midwest, followed by a wide margin by a 6.8% rise in sales in the West. Only the Northeast saw a drop of new home sales during the month, posting a decline of 13.9%.