US new-home sales post slight gain in April

U.S. new home sales ticked up 0.6% in April, a surprising gain amid the coronavirus outbreak that hints at the relative health of potential buyers.

The Commerce Department reported Tuesday that sales of new single-family homes rose slightly to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 623,000 last month. This followed a decline of 13.7% in March. Over the past 12 months, sales are down 6.2%.

COVID-19 disrupted what appeared to be signs of growth in the housing market. But stuck in social isolation, buyers decided last month to purchase homes that have yet to be constructed — a category that surged 26.5% from March and accounted for all of the sales growth in April.

The median price for a new home sold last month was $309,900, down 8.6% from a year ago.