New home sales increased for the third straight month, according to a joint release by the Commerce Department’s Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). According to the report (download here), sales of new, single-family homes were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 504,000 in April. That’s an increase of 14.8% from the revised March rate of 439,000. The original March estimate was 411,000, up 26.9% from the revised February rate of 324,000. April’s rate is 47.8% above the April 2009 estimate of 341,000. In addition, the report said the median sales price of new houses sold in April 2010 was $198,400 and the average sales price was $249,500. The seasonally adjusted estimate of inventory of new homes for sale at the end of April was 211,000, down 7% from 227,000 in March and down 29.7% from 300,000 in April 2009. The April inventory represents a 5-month supply at the current sales rate. Regionally, the Midwest experienced the biggest increase in new home sales. The annual rate of 75,000 home sales is a 31.6% increase from the March estimate of 57,000. Sales are also up 87.5% from the April 2009 rate of 40,000. In the West, the new home sales rate of 112,000 is 21.7% above the March rate of 92,000 and up 41.8% from the rate of 79,000 in April 2009. In the South, the sales rate of 278,000 is up 10.8% from the March estimate of 251,000 and up 38.3% from the April 2009 estimate of 201,000. The Northeast sales rate in April of 39,000 is level with the March rate of 39,000, but is up 85.7% from the April 2009 rate of 21,000. The new sales report comes just days after the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported April existing home sales increased 7.6% from March to April. Completed transactions of existing single-family, town home, condominium and co-op housing units stood at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.77m in April, an increase from the upwardly revised 5.36m in March. April’s rate is 7% above March and 22.8% above the April 2009 rate. Write to Austin Kilgore.