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New-home sales up 6.8% nationally, but down 2.3% in western states

Builders see continuing, gradual improvement in housing market

Sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 6.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 517,000 units in April, according to newly released data from HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau.

"Sales are moving forward and our builder members are telling us they are starting to see more activity as more buyers get off the fence and enter the marketplace," said Tom Woods, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Blue Springs, Mo.

"Following an unusually low sales report in March, today's numbers are consistent with other data we've seen recently and indicate a continuing, gradual improvement in the housing market," added NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.

Regionally, home sales were mixed, rising 36.8% in the Midwest and 5.8% in the South. The Northeast posted a 5.6% decline and the West fell 2.3%.

The inventory of new homes for sale edged up to 205,000 units in April. This is a 4.8-month supply at the current sales pace.

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