New-home sales soared in Western states in August by John Kell @FortuneMagazine September 24, 2014, 10:53 AM EDT E-mail Tweet Facebook Google Plus Linkedin Share icons Sales of new homes jumped a better-than-expected 18% in August from the prior month, bolstered by the strongest pace of selling in the Western states the Commerce Department has reported since early 2008. The Commerce Department reported sales of new single-family homes were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 504,000 last month, above the upwardly revised July rate of 427,000. Economists had predicted the rate would total 430,000 in August, according to a survey by Bloomberg News. The August figure was a 33% increase from the same month a year ago. While monthly housing reports recently have generally fallen short of expectations, new-home sales in August leapt far more than expected, due to a 50% jump in the West, as well as a 29% increase in the Northeast. New-home sales increased only 7.8% in the South and were flat in the Midwest. The increase in the West was particularly notable, where the seasonally adjusted annual rate reached 153,000. That was the highest the Commerce Department has reported since January 2008. Meanwhile, the median sales price for new homes sold last month totaled $275,600, compared to $280,100 in July, the Commerce Department said.