Thursday, 19 September 2013 16:29

Existing-home sales rise 1.7% in August

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By Ruth Mantell

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - Existing-home sales rose 1.7% in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.48 million, the highest level in more than six years, as buyers rushed to lock in mortgage rates before they increased any further, the National Association of Realtors reported Thursday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected an August sales rate of 5.2 million, compared with an unrevised rate of 5.39 million in July. Looking forward, rates that continue to rise will eventually pull back home purchases, NAR added. Mortgage rates started increasing in early May on speculation about the Federal Reserve tapering its massive asset-purchase program. On Wednesday, Fed officials said they will not taper yet. Also Thursday, NAR said the median price of a home was $212,100 in August, up 14.7% from the year-earlier level, the largest growth since October 2005, as pricier homes saw large annual sales growth. Inventories rose 0.4% to 2.25 million homes available for sale, representing a 4.9-month supply at current sales rates. NAR added that all-cash deals remained high in August, while there were relatively few first-time buyers and distressed sales.

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Existing-home sales highest in more than six years



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