In this Monday, Feb. 8, 2016, file photo, a carpenter works on the siding of a new townhouse at a construction site in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan, File)

(Bloomberg) — Purchases of new homes in the U.S. surged in April to the highest level since the start of 2008, pointing to a robust spring selling season for builders. 

Sales jumped 16.6% to a 619,000 annualized pace, and purchases in the first three months of the year were revised higher, Commerce Department data showed Tuesday. The rate exceeded the most optimistic forecast in a Bloomberg survey. The median sales price climbed to a record, reflecting a pickup in signed contracts for more expensive properties.

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