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US new-home sales soar nearly 16 pct. in January to highest level in 4½ years

U.S. new-home sales jumped in January from the previous month to the highest level since July 2008, a sign that the housing recovery is accelerating.

The Commerce Department says new-home sales rose nearly 16 percent in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 437,000. The percentage increase was the largest in nearly 20 years.

Steady job creation and near record-low mortgage rates are spurring more Americans to buy houses. At the same time, the number of previously occupied homes for sale is at a 13-year low. That shortage creates more demand for new homes.

Still, the increases are coming from depressed levels. New-home sales plummeted to a record low in 2011. And sales are still well below the 700,000 annual level that economists consider healthy.

Bank Rates

Loan Type Graph Rate +/- Last Week
30 Y Fixed Graph 3.80% up 3.78%  
15 Y Fixed Graph 3.04% up 3.00%  
30 Y Fixed Jumbo Graph 4.11% up 4.05%  
5/1 ARM Graph 3.14% dw 3.16%  
5/1 Jumbo ARM Graph 3.19% dw 3.31%  
Loan Type Graph Rate +/- Last Week
$30K HELOC Graph 4.60% -- 4.60%  
$50K HELOC Graph 4.09% dw 4.10%  
$30K Loan Graph 4.91% -- 4.91%  
$50K Loan Graph 4.34% -- 4.34%  
$75K Loan Graph 4.35% -- 4.35%  
Loan Type Graph Rate +/- Last Week
36 M New Graph 2.73% dw 2.74%  
36 M Used Graph 3.21% dw 3.22%  
48 M New Graph 2.97% -- 2.97%  
48 M Used Graph 2.76% up 2.74%  
60 M New Graph 3.11% -- 3.11%  
Loan Type Graph Yield +/- Last Week
6 month Graph 0.38% -- 0.38%  
1 yr Graph 0.70% -- 0.71%  
5 yr Graph 1.48% -- 1.48%