Sales of new single-family homes rose in April to 454,000, up 2.3 percent from the previous month, according to new figures.

The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development said the number was 29 percent above the April 2012 number of 352,000.

In March, sales increased to a rate of 417,000, close to January's pace of 445,000, the fastest since July 2008.

New-home sales are still below the 700,000 level considered healthy by most economists. But the pace has increased 18.5 percent from a year ago.