FORTUNE — New home sales climbed 6.4% in April from the prior month, growth that exceeded expectations and signaled the first month of the spring selling season may have benefited from pent-up demand after a harsh winter.
The Commerce Department said Friday sales of new single-family homes in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 433,000, 6.4 percent above the revised March rate of 407,000. Economists had expected new-home sales to total 420,000 in April, according to a survey by Bloomberg.
However, the April figure was 4.2% lower than a year ago.
“While the April number is nice to see, you really want to see follow through in May and June,” said John Canally, an investment strategist and economist at LPL Financial. “The whole story hasn’t been told yet.”
MORE: Existing-home sales inch higher in April
Some data have suggested the housing market’s recovery has stalled in the U.S. — a concern that picked up during the severe winter. The slowdown is worrisome for the industry as it heads into the key spring and summer home-buying seasons. For example, the National Association of Realtors this week reported existing-home sales grew a less-than-expected 1.3% in April from the prior month.
Canally said his firm believes weather is to blame for the mixed performance from the housing sector of late. He believes a handful of key fundamentals, including an improved job market, stronger home prices, and an easier environment to secure a loan, will broadly support the sector.
Rising housing prices have been a bright spot for the industry, though the Commerce Department reported the median sales price for new homes sold in April totaled $275,800, down 4.9% from March.
Inventory of new homes at the end of April totaled 192,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis, representing a supply of 5.3 months at the current sales rate. Inventory at the end of March stood at 193,000, a six-month supply.