New homes surged in April, a sign that builders are stepping up as demand for housing remains robust.
Sales soared 16.6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 619,000, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. That was the biggest monthly jump in 24 years and trounced estimates of a 525,000 pace.
The median price also jumped, rising 9.7% from 12 months ago to $321,100.
The big increase in sales took supply sharply lower. At the current pace, it would take 4.7 months to exhaust all inventory.
March numbers were revised up to a 531,000 annual pace. The April figures were 23.8% higher compared to a year ago.
Regional performance was mixed, from a 52.8% surge in the Northeast to a 4.8% decline in the Midwest. The South saw a 15.8% increase, while in the West sales were up 18.8%.
Demand for housing has run much hotter than supply for the past few years, in part because home builders have been reluctant to ramp up to the brisk level of activity they enjoyed before the recession.