The housing market surprised some analysts by continuing a full-court press in May.

New home sales jumped by 7.5%, reaching an annual rate of 828,000 - the highest level since 1985.

Some economists said they see no chance that home sales will slow over the summer.

Consumers are buying homes now in part because of the threat of a post- election rise in interest rates, explained Herve Kevenides, economist with Ceres Financial Concepts, New York.

"There's a window of opportunity until the presidential election, when Greenspan may step on the brakes," said Mr. Kevenides.

Personal income has also increased substantially, Mr. Kevenides noted, nudging up consumer purchases.

- Heather Timmons

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