Boost in new-home sales greeted with skepticism

skepticism-21By Kris Hudson | The Wall Street Journal

A significant increase in new-home sales in October certainly sounds like good news for the U.S. economy. The trouble is that many economists, homebuilders and analysts regard it as too good to be true.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported Wednesday that contracts to sell newly built homes increased by 25.4% in October from the September figure to seasonally adjusted annual rate of 444,000. That’s on par with the sales rate of last spring when the new-home market was surging.

But the Census figures—based on a small sample and notoriously volatile—contradict the findings of monthly surveys by housing market analysis firms as well as recent comments by public home builders that October sales were tepid at best.

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