Sales of newly built homes rebounded in April, a sign the housing market may be slowly warming up. New-home sales climbed 6.8% from March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 517,000, the Commerce Department said Tuesday.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal predicted sales would rise 6% in April to a rate of 510,000. Over the past year, new-home purchases are up 26.1%.

New-home sales reflect about one-tenth of all home purchases, and monthly estimates are typically revised as more data become available. The April figure has a margin for error of plus or minus 15.8%.

Housing data has been mixed in recent months despite low mortgage rates and steady job creation. Bad weather may have dented traffic during the winter, and rising prices and the limited availability of homes have constrained the market.

Existing-home sales—the bulk of the market—declined 3.3% last month, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday, as the median sale price for a previously owned home was up 8.9% from a year earlier.


Read More >