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The South experiences jump in new-home sales

Sales of new homes increased most in the South, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.

Sales of new homes increased most in the South, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.

Moving trucks were zipping around the South in September as the region saw an increase of 11.2 percent in new-home sales, the largest jump in any region. The findings, reported October 26 by the U.S. Commerce Department, revealed some cause for optimism in the housing market.

For example, the average listing price for homes in Arkansas rose 0.2 percent last month, and the average listing price increased 0.8 percent over the previous quarter, according to Zillow. The average home price in that state was $96,000 in August.

Sales of newly-built, single-family homes rose 5.7 in percent to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 313,000, the fastest pace experienced in five months. The inventory of new homes held steady at its record low of 163,000 units.

"Today's report highlights the gradual improvement in housing market conditions that is becoming evident in certain pockets of the country, as consumers who can surmount very restrictive lending standards to qualify for a favorable mortgage rate seize on this opportunity to buy," said Bob Nielsen, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders.