Shock surge in US house sales

NEW home sales rocketed by 17.5 per cent in December, compared to November, data showed yesterday.

The rise meant that 329,000 one family homes were sold in the 12 months to December.

Sales were up massively in the west of the US -- a 33 per cent increase on the previous month -- raising some suspicions over the reliability of the data. And some analysts warned against volatility in the figures.

“Things are definitely perking up, but there is a question whether it’s sustainable,” said Brian Bethune, an economist at IHS Global Insight.