United States New Home Sales Ticked Up in January

New home sales ticked up in January, despite a twin burden imposed by elevated mortgage rates and expensive housing prices, according to U.S. Census data released on Monday.

Sales of new single-family homes rose 1.8% in January compared to the previous year, data showed. The survey found an estimated 661,000 homes were sold in January. On a monthly basis, sales climbed 1.5% from December.

The fresh data offers a glimmer of optimism for an otherwise sluggish housing market. By contrast, existing-home sales declined in January compared to the previous year, the National Association of Realtors said last week.

The divergent trends for new and existing home sales trace back to elevated mortgage rates. The average interest rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage has soared to 6.9%, rebounding after a steady decline at the end of last year, according to a report from Freddie Mac on Thursday.

The median sales price of new houses sold in January was $420,700.