Sales of new homes in the US probably rose in January as an extension of a first-time homebuyers’ tax credit spurred demand from a nine-month low, economists said before a report today.

Purchases increased 3.5% to an annual pace of 353,000 new homes, according to the median estimate of 71 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Demand slumped 7.6% in December, the month after the incentive was originally scheduled to expire.

Expansion and extension of the credit covering contracts signed by the end of April may give housing a further lift in coming months. Sustained growth in home sales will require payroll gains after the loss of 8.4m jobs the last two years.