WASHINGTON (9/23/13)--U.S. existing-home sales increased in August and reached the highest level in six-and-a-half years, while the median price shows nine consecutive months of double-digit year-over-year increases, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
Total existing-home sales--which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops--rose 1.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.48 million in August from 5.39 million in July. August sales are 13.2% higher than the 4.84 million-unit level in August 2012.
Sales are at the highest pace since February 2007--when they hit 5.79 million--and have remained above year-ago levels for the past 26 months.
The market may be experiencing a temporary peak, said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist.
"Rising mortgage interest rates pushed more buyers to close deals, but monthly sales are likely to be uneven in the months ahead from several market frictions," he said. "Tight inventory is limiting choices in many areas, higher mortgage interest rates mean affordability isn't as favorable as it was, and restrictive mortgage lending standards are keeping some otherwise qualified buyers from completing a purchase."