Sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 6.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 433,000 units in April, according to newly released data from HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau.
The gain builds on an upward revision of sales numbers reported for the previous month.
"Builders are gradually increasing sales, but tight credit conditions, particularly for first-time home buyers, are impeding a more robust recovery," said Kevin Kelly, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Wilmington, Del.
"In a positive development, builders are adding inventory in anticipation of a further release of pent-up demand," added NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "We are only about half-way back to what could be considered a normal market, but relatively low mortgage rates and affordable home prices are other factors that should help keep starts and sales on a slow upward trajectory in the months ahead."
On a regional basis, new-home sales rose 47.4% in the Midwest and 3.1% in the South and held steady in the West. The Northeast posted a 26.7% decline.
The inventory of new homes for sale increased to 192,000 units in April. This is a 5.3-month supply at the current sales pace.