WASHINGTON D.C. (
) -- 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
, which was up 1% at mid-day, a welcome change for the stock after the
pummeling it took last week on weak earnings.
was up 4.5%;
was up 2%; while
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
was down 0.6%; while luxury homebuilder
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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