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WASHINGTON — Sales of new U.S. homes rose in May to the highest level in six years, providing the strongest signal yet that housing is recovering from a recent slowdown.

New home sales jumped 18.6 percent last month after a 3.7 percent increase in April, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. The gains followed declines in February and March that were blamed in part on harsh winter weather.

The big May increase pushed the seasonally adjusted annual sales rate to 504,000, the highest level since May 2008.

Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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