) -- Home sales spiked 6.2% in October to 430,000, according to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development -- news that sent the stock price of most of the major homebuilders on an upswing Wednesday morning.

The new-home sales numbers not only beat the September level of 405,000 home sales, but were also 5.1% above the October 2008 level of 409,000.

While recent housing industry reports showed a

slow in new housing starts in October , the rush among first-time homebuyers, with the tax credit expiration looming last month, could have spurred additional sales.

There was also positive news about the median home price increasing for the seventh-consecutive month

released yesterday by the S&P/Case-Shiller index family.

The median sales price of new houses sold in October 2009 was $212,200; the average sales price was $261,100, according to the Census Bureau report.

Homebuilders didn't benefit from Tuesday's S&P/Case-Shiller index improvements, but the Census Bureau data seemed to cause a multiplier effect.

The homebuilder spike was led by

D.R. Horton

(DHI) - Get D.R. Horton, Inc. Report

, which was up 1% at mid-day, a welcome change for the stock after the

pummeling it took last week on weak earnings.


(SKY) - Get Skyline Champion Corp. Report

was up 4.5%;

Hovnanian Enterprises

(HOV) - Get Hovnanian Enterprises, Inc. Class A Report

was up 2%; while

KB Homes

(KBH) - Get KB Home Report

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M.D.C. Holdings

(MDC) - Get M.D.C. Holdings, Inc. Report

, and

Pulte Homes

(PHM) - Get PulteGroup, Inc. Report

were all trading up slightly at mid-day.

While the positive gains were small for many of the homebuilders, a broadly positive trend is welcome news for the beleaguered sector.

Only two major names in the sector were down at mid-day: The stock price of he

Ryland Group


was down 0.6%; while luxury homebuilder

Toll Brothers

(TOL) - Get Toll Brothers, Inc. Report

was down 0.3%.

It was just a few weeks ago that a

better-than-expected outlook from Toll Brothers sent the entire sector up.

Today, instead of leading the industry surge, Toll was missing out on it.

-- Reported by Eric Rosenbaum in New York

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