Sales of new single-family homes jumped 14.8 percent in April, reaching a seasonally adjusted 504,000 units, the Commerce Department reported.

Analysts credited the expiring home buyer tax credits for much of the increase.

"Clearly the home buyer tax credit program, which concluded at the end of April, was successful in getting the housing market moving again by helping many families achieve the dream of homeownership," said Bob Jones, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders and a builder from Bloomfield Hills, Mich. "Now that the program is over, other great buying incentives continue - including exceptionally favorable mortgage rates, very attractive home prices and the steadily improving economy - so there is good reason to expect the positive momentum to continue."

The Midwestern U.S. registered a 31.6 percent gain; the South, a 10.8 percent hike; and the West was up 21.7 percent. Sales in the Northeast were flat.

NAHB chief economist David Crowe said the report was encouraging.

"The surge of buying activity we have seen in the final two months of the tax credit program has been very encouraging, and has helped builders work down their standing inventories to near historic lows," Crowe said. "It stands to reason that this activity will level off over the next few months, as sales that would have occurred during that time were likely pulled forward to meet the April deadline. That said, today's favorable home-buying conditions, the recovering job market and reviving consumer confidence should help take the place of tax incentives to generate buyer demand."