HOME APPEAL: Sales of new homes rose 2.1 percent in May from April to the fastest pace in five years, and the median price of a new home was $263,900, up 3.3 percent from a year ago, the U.S. Commerce Department reported.

HOT AND NOT: The sales gains were led by a 40.7 percent increase in the Midwest followed by a 20.7 percent gain in the Northeast. Sales were also up 3.6 percent in the West but they fell 9 percent in the South.

REALITY CHECK: The seasonally adjusted annual sales rate of 476,000 in May is well below the 700,000 annual rate that's considered healthy by most economists. But the pace has increased 29 percent from a year ago.

 

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