Sales of new U.S. homes rose in April slightly above forecast, showing that the sluggish real-estate market continued a slow ascent back to good health.
The U.S. Commerce Department data show that the number of purchases on new homes last month showed a gain of 3.3 percent to 343,000, a bit above the consensus expectation of 335,000. Meanwhile, the March sales figure was revised upward from 328,000 homes to 332,000.
The main driver behind the increase are the low mortgage interest rates, making homes more affordable and within reach. Also improving economy and slightly better job market drew in more buyers.
The data shows an upturn in the U.S. housing market but it still remains vulnerable to external risks, primarily the euro zone debt crisis. Any worsening could affect the rebound in the housing market.
Meanwhile, earlier this week National Association of Realtors data showed existing home sales, tabulated when a contract closes, increased 3.4 percent to a 4.62 million annual rate in April, just shy of the 4.63 million in January that was the highest in almost two years.