State and Nation Business

New home sales jump to highest level in 5 years

WASHINGTON – Americans snapped up new homes in June at the fastest pace in five years, a sign the housing recovery is strengthening.

The Commerce Department says sales rose 8.3 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted pace of 497,000. That's up from 459,000 in May, which was revised lower.

While sales are still below the 700,000 pace consistent with healthy markets, they have risen 38 percent in the past 12 months. That's the biggest annual gain since January 1992.

Housing has helped drive economic growth at a time when other parts of the economy have languished. While new-home sales make up only a small part of the market, each home built creates an average of three new jobs and spurs more spending at furniture and home supply stores.

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