Keeping Track ...

Soaring sales

New home sales shot up 9.2 percent in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 978,000 - the second-strongest monthly rate on record.

The jump came as consumers rushed to lock in low mortgage rates amid escalating home prices, the Commerce Department said.

The mean, or average, price for a new home rose to a record $193,100 in April from $186,300 in March.

Meanwhile, unemployment in the US dropped 0.1 percent last month to a rate of 4.2 percent. The May level, like that in March, was the lowest in the US since 1970.

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