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Americans ramped up their purchases of new homes in April to the highest level since January 2008, evidence of a strong start to the spring buying season.

The Commerce Department has said new home sales had jumped 16.6 per cent last month to a seasonally adjusted rate of 619,000, up from just 531,000 in the previous month. March's total was revised higher.

Steady job gains and low mortgage rates have encouraged more Americans to buy new homes.

That trend is driving home construction and helping support the economy.  The new home sales figures are notoriously volatile, particularly on the regional level.

Last month, new home purchases leapt 53 per cent in the Northeast and 19 per cent in the West.

They fell 5 per cent in the Midwest and jumped 16 per cent in the South.

 
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