The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s monthly new residential sales statistics show sales of new homes rose 6.1 percent in February and are now 12.8 percent above last year’s figure. The numbers are an indication that sales may have begun improving before the official start of the spring season and at a time when mortgage rates were climbing. So what could be behind the surge in new home sales? Well, one possible reason for the spike is elevated buyer interest. From all accounts, buyer demand is quite high across the country. And those buyers may have simply been trying to beat the competition or lock in low rates before they rise any higher. In other words, market conditions may have convinced buyers that getting an early start would land them a better chance of finding the home of their dreams. Another explanation could be unseasonably warm weather in parts of the country that would normally still be in the grips of winter during the month of February. An exceptionally mild month could have helped lift sales in parts of the South, Midwest, and Northeast. Also in the report, the median sales price of new homes sold was $296,200. The average sales price was $390,400. More here.