WASHINGTON - Providing confirmation that a housing recovery is underway, sales of newly built, single-family homes set a record pace in more than two years, rising  5.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 389,000 units in September, according to figures from HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau.

"New-home sales this year have consistently and significantly out-paced their year-ago levels as favorable interest rates, rising prices and improving consumer confidence have driven demand higher," National Association of Home Builders Chief Economist David Crowe said in a statement.

"Consumers who have been on the sidelines during the past few years are deciding now is the time to go forward with a new-home purchase, assuming they can qualify for a good mortgage under today's exceedingly stringent guidelines," said Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the NAHB and a home builder from Gainesville, FL.

According to a release from NAHB, three out of four regions registered substantial gains in new-home sales this September, including the Northeast's 16.7 percent increase, the South's 16.8 percent increase and the West's 3.9 percent increase. The Midwest was the exception to the rule, with a 37.3 percent decline.

However, NAHB reported, the inventory of new homes remains low, at 145,000 units in September; a 4.5-month supply at the current sales pace.

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