Sales of new American homes exceed hopes

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The Independent Online

Sales of new single family homes in the US rebounded sharply in June, but the bounce was from a historically low base, according to official figures released yesterday.

The US Commerce Department said sales soared by 23.6 per cent to an annual rate of 330,000, compared with a revised figure of 267,000 for May. Analysts had expected the annual rate to rise to 320,000 in June.

The surge came as the number of new homes on the market fell by 1.4 per cent to 210,000, the lowest level since September 1968. Despite the increase, the pace of sales last month was still the second lowest since records began.

The data, which follows weak figures on home construction and the sales of existing properties, comes in advance of a report on US GDP at the end of this week.

The Obama government is expected to confirm a slowdown in the pace of the recovery in the world's largest economy. Growth is forecast to ease from an annual rate of 2.7 per cent in the first quarter to 2.5 per cent in the three months to the end of June.