You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

Business

  • Twitter 2Q results soar, stock flies high
      NEW YORK – The little blue bird is flying high.
  • Toyota remains at top in sales after first half
      TOKYO – Toyota remains No. 1 in global vehicles sales after the first six months of this year, followed by Volkswagen which bumped General Motors out of second place as the U.S.
  • Local GM cancels 4 shifts
    A lack of parts has forced officials at General Motors Co.’s Allen County truck assembly plant to cancel at least four shifts this week.But workers will have to make up the unexpected time off.
Advertisement
Associated Press
A sign declares a home sale in Mount Lebanon, Pa., in January, when sales of new homes had the biggest surge in five years.

New-home sales surge 9.6% in January

– A surprisingly strong pace of new-home sales last month has boosted hopes that the spring buying season will be solid enough to lift the overall economy.

Sales of new homes rebounded in January to the fastest rate in more than five years. The strength in purchases followed a slowdown that had been linked to higher mortgage rates and severe winter weather.

The report Wednesday from the Commerce Department helped support stock prices, especially shares of homebuilders.

Many economists predict that sales of new and existing homes will rise in 2014, lifted by an improving economy and steady job growth.

“Despite higher mortgage rates, the fundamentals for new-home sales and residential construction are solid,” said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group. “The economy is adding jobs and incomes are growing, making households more confident.”

Sales of new homes rose 9.6 percent in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 468,000. It was the fastest pace since July 2008.

The surge came as a surprise to economists. Most had expected a decline in January, in part because they thought purchases would be held back by winter storms in much of the country. Sales had fallen 3.8 percent in December and 1.8 percent in November, prompting concerns that the housing recovery might be losing momentum.

Hoffman said he expected construction and sales of new and existing homes to post further gains in 2014, though a bit less than in 2013.

“There is significant pent-up demand for new homes after potential buyers have put off purchases for years because of concerns about the economy,” he said.

Advertisement