Sales of new homes up in September

WASHINGTON (AP) — More Americans bought new homes in September, a sign that demand remains strong despite a shortage of properties on the market.

The Commerce Department says new-home sales advanced 3.1 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 593,000 units. New-home purchases in August were revised downward to an annual rate of 593,000.

A healthy job market and low interest rates have bolstered demand for new homes. So far this year, sales have increased 13 percent compared to the same period in 2015.

Sales surged last month in the Northeast, improved in the Midwest and South and slumped in the West.

Construction has largely failed to keep pace with demand. The market contains only 4.8 months’ supply of new homes, down from 5.8 months a year ago.

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