by Christopher Freeburn | August 21, 2013 12:48 pm
There was more good news for the real estate market on Wednesday after an industry group found that more homes than expected changed hands last month.
According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), sales of existing homes climbed 6.5% in July, hitting a seasonally adjusted annualized pace of 5.39 million units. That marked the highest rate in four years and easily topped the annualize rate of 5.15 million units that Wall Street had forecast, USA TODAY noted.
Sales of existing homes in July were 17% higher than the same month last year.
Prices for existing homes posted their biggest annual jump since 2005, rising 14% from last year to a median price of $213,500 last month.
An NAR spokesman noted that home sales were rising as buyers entered the market trying to lock in low mortgage rates, which have begun to rise after years of declines. If rates continue to climb, however, that could cool home sales.
The good news had little apparent effect on homebuilders. Shares of Toll Brothers (TOL) and D.R. Horton (DHI) climbed modestly in Wednesday midday trading, while Ryland Group (RYL) fell fractionally.
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