WASHINGTON - The housing market sprang back to life in April as consumers took advantage of mild weather to push sales of new single-family homes to the highest level in more than six years, the Commerce Department reported yesterday.

Sales were recorded at an annual rate of 751,000, the hottest pace since December 1986, a department spokesman said. After the lackluster rate of 612,000 in March, sales jumped 22.7% to mark the biggest monthly increase in six and a half years.

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