WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. consumer confidence rebounded in April and new home sales increased more than expected in March, pointing to underlying strength in the economy despite signs that growth slowed in the first quarter.

FILE PHOTO: An advertisement for two-family homes is seen outside an oceanside community in the Rockaway area of the Queens borough of New York, September 16, 2015. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo

Other data on Tuesday also showed house prices increasing solidly in February. Strong consumer confidence and rising house prices bode well for an acceleration in consumer spending in the second quarter after it braked sharply at the start of the year.

The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index increased to a reading of 128.7 this month from 127.0 in March. Consumers’ short-term expectations also improved, with the share of consumers expecting their incomes to decline over the coming months reaching its lowest level since December 2000.

U.S. financial markets were little moved by the data.

In a separate report, the Commerce Department said new home sales increased 4.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 694,000 units last month. February’s sales pace was revised up to 667,000 units from the previously reported 618,000 units.

Data for January was also revised to show sales unchanged instead of declining 4.7 percent. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast new home sales, which account for 11 percent of housing market sales, rising 1.9 percent to a pace of 630,000 units last month.

New home sales are drawn from permits and tend to be volatile on a month-to-month basis. They jumped 8.8 percent from a year ago.

March’s surge in new home sales and upward revisions to January and February sales data will probably not change economists’ expectations that residential investment

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