NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of homebuilders rose modestly Thursday on news that U.S. sales of new homes rose in April, nearly matching their fastest pace in five years and driving the median price to a record high.
The gains suggest that the housing recovery is strengthening, which is good news for homebuilders who are still trying to rebound from several tough years that followed the financial collapse of 2008.
According to the Commerce Department, new-home sales increased 2.3 percent in April from March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 454,000. That's only slightly below January's pace of 458,000, which was the fastest since July 2008.
Steady job creation and near-record-low mortgage rates are spurring more Americans to buy homes. Sales are still below the 700,000 pace consistent with healthy markets, but they have risen 29 percent over the past year.
Meanwhile, the median sales price jumped 8.3 percent in April from March to $271,600. That's highest on records going back to 1993. The median sales price is not adjusted for inflation.
Here's how shares of some homebuilders were trading Thursday afternoon:
— KB Home, up 87 cents, or 3.8 percent, to $23.91.
— Hovnanian Enterprises Inc., up 20 cents, or 3.4 percent, to $6.14.
— Lennar Corp., up $1.47, or 3.5 percent, to $43.76.
— Meritage Homes Corp., up 80 cents, or 1,6 percent, to $50.33.
— MDC Holdings Inc., up $1.01, or 2.6 percent, to $39.63.