The sales, detailed in two government reports Wednesday, confirmed a subtle but marked shift in confidence about the economy. New home sales jumped almost 10 percent from June, while orders for long-lasting goods like appliances, planes and computers rose nearly 5 percent in July, the third increase in the past four months.
Most economists now agree the recession that began in December 2007 has ended or is ending. Some say the economy is poised to grow strongly in the July-September quarter but probably will show weaker growth after government stimulus spending tapers off.
Sales of new homes surged to a seasonally adjusted pace of 433,000 in July from 395,000 in June, the Commerce Department said, providing another sign the housing market is bouncing back from the historic bottom reached early this year. Driven by falling prices, the fourth-straight monthly increase was greater than expected. Sales haven't risen so dramatically since February 2005.