Sales of new homes increased 18.6% in May, the biggest one-month gain since January 1992, to a 504,000 annualized pace, figures from the Commerce Department showed June 24 in Washington.
The reading exceeded all forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey of 74 economists and was the strongest since May 2008.
“The housing recovery is still going on,” said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James & Associates Inc. “We’ll see a general trend of improvement.”
The median forecast in the Bloomberg survey projected a gain to a 439,000 annualized rate. Estimates ranged from 415,000 to 462,000. The reading for the prior month was revised to 425,000 from a previously reported 433,000.
Purchases climbed in all four regions, led by a 54.5% jump in Northeast.