WASHINGTON D.C. ( TheStreet) -- 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.
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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 Report), which was up 1% at mid-day, a welcome change for the stock after the pummeling it took last week on weak earnings.

Skyline ( SKY - Get Report) was up 4.5%; Hovnanian Enterprises ( HOV - Get Report) was up 2%; while KB Homes ( KBH - Get Report), M.D.C. Holdings ( MDC - Get Report), and Pulte Homes ( PHM - Get 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 ( RYL) was down 0.6%; while luxury homebuilder Toll Brothers ( TOL - Get 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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