Sales of new single-family houses rose 15.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 437,000 units in January, according to federal data, the National Association of Home Builders said.

The sales pace is the fastest since July 2008 and has resulted in a drop in the supply of new houses for sale to its lowest level in nearly eight years. Sales posted gains in every region, increasing 27.6 percent in the Northeast, 11.1 percent in the Midwest, 3.2 percent in the South and 45.3 percent in the West, the home builders group said.

The inventory of new homes for sale held unchanged at 150,000 units in January, representing a 4.1 month supply at the current sales pace.