US new-home sales jump in October to seasonally adjusted annual rate of 444,000

Americans ramped up new-home buying in October after cutting back in September, evidence that the housing recovery is improving fitfully.

The Commerce Department says sales of new homes grew 25.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 444,000. That was the largest monthly percentage increase since May 1980. But it came after sales had fallen 6.6 percent in September to a 354,000 annual rate. And the pace was revised much lower than initially reported.

New-homes sales have risen 21.6 percent higher in the 12 months ending in October. Still, the pace remains well below the 700,000 consistent with a healthy market.

Prices fell 4.5 percent to $245,800 from October to September, a potential sign of greater affordability.