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Keeping Track ...

Soaring sales

New home sales shot up 9.2 percent in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 978,000 - the second-strongest monthly rate on record.

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The jump came as consumers rushed to lock in low mortgage rates amid escalating home prices, the Commerce Department said.

The mean, or average, price for a new home rose to a record $193,100 in April from $186,300 in March.

Meanwhile, unemployment in the US dropped 0.1 percent last month to a rate of 4.2 percent. The May level, like that in March, was the lowest in the US since 1970.

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