The numbers: Sales of newly-built single-family houses occurred at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 676,000 in May, the government reported Tuesday.
That represented a 16.6% increase from the downwardly-revised pace of 580,000 in April. Compared with the previous year, new home sales were up 12.7% in May.
Analysts polled by MarketWatch had forecast new-home sales to occur at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 650,000 in May.
The Northeast experienced the most pronounced increase in sales, with a 45.5% jump, followed by the West (up 29%) and the South (up 15.2%). Sales fell by 6.4% in the Midwest.
The median sales price for new homes sold in May was $317,900. At the end of the month, there were 318,000 new homes estimated to be up for sale, which equates to a 5.6-month supply. A 6-month supply of homes is generally considered to be indicative of a balanced market.