The New Residential Sales Report from the Economics and Statistics Administration reveals some good news for the housing market and maybe even current homeowners hoping to regain home value. New single-family property sales are up nearly 20 percent versus May 2011.

The Federal Government’s Economics and Statistics Administration, a division of the U.S. Census Bureau, released some great news for the housing market this week. I know we haven’t been used to linking the word “great” with anything housing market-related in some time, so let’s enjoy it while we can.

The update comes courtesy of the New Residential Sales Report, which reflected brisk business in May 2012 for the sale of newly constructed single-family homes. 369,000 units were sold, up 7.6 percent from April’s revised rate and up 19.8 percent from May 2011 – one year ago.

This report, as indicated, only accounts for transactions related to newly built housing stock and does carry some mitigating factors. For example, there are still 145,000 new homes on the market, as of the close of May. According to the Economics and Statistics Administration, this still represents a 4.7 month supply inventory. It’s worth keeping in mind that we are in the midst of the real estate busy season and it is reasonable to expect a slowdown in purchasing heading into the fall and early winter months. Will we see inventory climb again?

We may also want to keep our eyes on the selling prices of these moving properties. Per the report, the average sales price of new houses sold last month was $273,900. That runs about even with the national average of 2004 – eight years prior. These numbers tell the story of lost equity and home value that America’s current homeowners are still struggling to regain.

Caveats aside, we’re hungry for any positive signs of health from the housing market, and a nearly 20 percent climb in new home sales over the same month last year definitely counts as encouragement.