WASHINGTON Aug 21 Americans resold their homes
in July at the fastest pace in almost a year, a sign the housing
market was gaining steam again after a year-long slump.
The National Association of Realtors said on Thursday
existing home sales increased 2.4 percent to an annual rate of
5.15 million units.
That was above analysts' expectations and marked the fourth
straight month the pace of home resales accelerated.
Home resales dropped in the summer of 2013 after the Federal
Reserve signaled it would dial back its monetary stimulus for
the economy, pushing mortgage interest rates higher.
The Fed, however, ended up keeping a bond-buying program
running at full throttle for longer than investors expected, and
mortgage rates edged lower again. This, coupled with robust job
growth this year, helped push home resales in July to their
highest level since September 2013.
Distressed sales, which include foreclosures and short
sales, made up only 9 percent of sales last month, the lowest
share since the NAR starting tracking this information in
More homes also are being put on the market, keeping prices
from rising as quickly and providing potential buyers with more
The number of homes on the market for resale rose to 2.37
million in July, the highest level since August 2012 and 5.8
percent more than in July of last year.
The median sale price was $222,900, 4.9 percent higher than
in July 2013.
(Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Paul Simao)