U.S. Home Sales Approach 8-1/2 Year High

U.S. home resales rose in June to their highest level in nearly 8-1/2 years, a sign of pent-up demand that should buoy the housing market recovery and likely keep the Federal Reserve on track to raise interest rates later this year.

The National Association of Realtors said on Wednesday existing home sales increased 3.2 percent to an annual rate of 5.49 million units, the highest level since February 2007.

“The economy really has the wind at its back now,” said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Union Bank in New York.

Home resales this year are on track to record their biggest gain in eight years, the NAR said.

Economists had forecast sales rising to an annual rate of 5.40 million units last month. Sales were up 9.6 percent from a year ago.

June’s solid home sales report came on the heels of last week’s strong housing starts and building permits data. A tightening labor market is starting to push up wages, helping to boost demand for housing, especially among young adults.

But a tight supply of properties for sale remains a constraint. The string of strong housing reports indicate the economy continues to be on firmer footing despite a drop in retail sales and a slowdown in job growth last month.

read more —>  http://www.reuters.com

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