Brand new residential real estate is a hot commodity now, as confirmed when the Commerce Department announced Tuesday that new home sales increased 16.6 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted rate of 619,000, up from a revised total of 531,000 in March.

In April, new home purchases were up to the highest level since January 2008, according to a USA Today article, which credits steady job gains and low mortgage rates for the healthy increase. New home construction was also on the upswing, rising 6.6 percent in April.

Higher-end housing accounts for the greatest number of sales, according to Commerce Department figures. The median price of a new home that sold in April was $321,100, a record high, up from $297,900 in March.

While that price point is too high for many buyers, there are still 17.4 percent more new homes for sale this year than last. The outlook on existing homes is positive, as well. In April, sales were on the uptick for a second straight month to an annual pace of 5.45 million.