Existing-Home Sales Grow to Highest Pace Since Before Recession
Sales of existing homes grew in July to the fastest rate since 2007, and factory activity in the mid-Atlantic region picked up this month — fresh signs of steady economic growth that is likely to keep the Federal Reserve on track to raise interest rates this year.
The National Association of Realtors said existing-home sales increased by 2 percent to an annual rate of 5.59 million units last month, the highest since February of 2007.
The labor market’s strengthening is aiding demand for housing. Supply, however, remains tight, pushing up home prices and making first time buyers apprehensive, who are a crucial part of a strong housing market. The share of first-time buyers fell to a six-month low of 28 percent last month.
There were 2.24 million unsold previously owned homes on the market in July, down 4.7 percent from a year ago. That pushed the median home price to $234,000, up 5.6 percent from the year-ago period. Although higher prices could curb sales, they are raising equity for many owners.