New single-family home sales jumped 14.8% in May to set a new monthly record, signaling that 2004 will likely be another record year for sales.The U.S. Census Bureau reported that new-home sales rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.37 million in May from 1.19 million in April. National Association of Home Builders economist Michael Carliner called it an "amazing" performance. "Lots of these sales are presales, so the builders have a backlog of orders and they are going to be busy," he said. Mr. Carliner also noted that builders are telling the association that potential homebuyers are deciding there is no point in waiting to sign a contract, with mortgage rates going up and the economy strengthening.

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