WASHINGTON -- Sales of new homes increased 1 percent in April, based largely on the strength of activity in the nation’s Midwest region, according to a report released by the U.S. Commerce Department.

Homes sold at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 915,000, a climb from the upwardly revised pace of 906,000 units in March, and exceeded the expectations of many analysts.

By region, new home sales fell by 3.2 percent in the South, the area with the greatest sales volume. They fell 5.6 percent in the West, and 13.8 percent in the Northeast. Sales went up by 33.8 percent in the Midwest, the biggest gain in that region since December 1993.