Sales of new single-family houses rose in November 2012 to an annual rate of 377,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

This is 4.4% above the October rate of 361,000, and new home sales are up 15.3% from the November 2011 estimate of 327,000.

The strong November sales figure marks the highest rate of new home purchases since April 2010, which The Los Angeles Times notes is when sales were inflated by a temporary tax credit for home buyers.

Anika Khan, senior economist with Wells Fargo Securities, tells CNN Money: “New-home sales is a good story and it will continue to be a good story.”

The positive news follows our report yesterday that home prices are also on the rise, with Los Angeles in particular seeing more than 6% annual gain in October. Both the increase in new home sales and home values are notable as they come at a time that is traditionally slow for the housing market and remain strong despite uncertainty among consumers about the overall economy and the “fiscal cliff.” As Khan notes, new-home sales are becoming a more important driver of overall economic growth.