US new home sales rise surprisingly strong 16.6% in May

U.S. new home sales increased in June. PHOTO CREDIT: Keith Srakocic

WASHINGTON — Sales of new homes rose a surprisingly strong 16.6% in May with the reopening of major parts of the country potentially fueling activity in the housing market.

The Commerce Department reported today that sales of new single-family homes rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 676,000 last month.

That was a much better performance than expected. Many economists had forecast that sales would fall in May.

The new home sales numbers come just one day after the U.S. reported a 9.7% plunge in May sales of existing homes to an annual rate of 3.91 million, the slowest pace in nearly a decade.

There are hopes that the housing slump that occurred with the virus shutdowns could be coming to an end, though the millions of jobs lost to the pandemic could impede any rebound.