Sales of new single-family home sales rose 7.3% in April from the month prior to notch their second straight month of gains — and prices increased — but compared to a year ago the business was still in a depression, registering a 23% slide.

The Commerce Department reported that new homes sold at an annualized rate of 323,000 units, the highest level since December. In March the annualized rate was 301,000-units. (Some past readings were revised upwards.)

All four regions of the nation recorded gains in sales, with the West reporting a 15% jump. (Mortgage firms have been reporting strong sales of homes priced under $500,000 in California.)  

An oversupply of existing homes and a continuing and never-ending wave of foreclosed properties and REO are curbing the market for new homes.

The government reported that nationwide roughly 175,000 new homes were available for sale last month, down 2.8% from the month before.

The Commerce Department said the median sales price for a new home rose 1.6% in April (from March) to $217,900. Compared to a year ago the gain was 4.6%.

At April's sales pace, the supply of new homes on the market dropped to 6.5 months' worth, the lowest since April of last year.

Last week the government reported that housing starts fell 10.6% percent in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 523,000 units.

According to the National Association of Home Builders, “Consumers have not yet reached a level of confidence that is strong enough to begin lifting the housing market. The fundamentals – such as economic growth and employment – are beginning to shape up and will eventually provide enough momentum to push housing forward at a healthy pace. But until then, builders are unwilling to move forward.”

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