WASHINGTON -- Sales of newly built, single-family homes surged 14.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 504,000 units in April as consumers rushed to beat the deadline for expiring home buyer tax credits, according to data released by the U.S. Commerce Department. This was the strongest level of new-home buying activity since May of 2008.

"Clearly the home buyer tax credit program, which concluded at the end of April, was successful in getting the housing market moving again by helping many families achieve the dream of homeownership," said Bob Jones, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Bloomfield Hills, MI. "Now that the program is over, other great buying incentives continue - including exceptionally favorable mortgage rates, very attractive home prices and the steadily improving economy - so there is good reason to expect the positive momentum to continue."

Three out of four regions posted substantial gains in new-home sales in April; the Midwest registered a 31.6% gain, the South, a 10.8% gain, and the West, a 21.7% gain. The Northeast posted no change in sales activity from the previous month.

The nationwide inventory of new homes on the market fell 5.8% to 212,000 units in April, its slimmest measure since October of 1968.

Read the National Association of Home Builders' press release.

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