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Home sales surge in May

Existing-home sales surged in May to the strongest pace in more than nine years, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported.

The annual pace of sales reached 5.53 million, up 1.8 percent compared to the April level and up 4.5 percent compared to the May 2015 reading, the trade group said. May's reading was also the highest annualized rate since February 2007, when it was 5.8 million. Sales increased in all regions in the month, NAR said.

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said more people have build up equity in their homes, which is motivating them to sell and use the proceeds to buy up or trade down on their home. He also said “ultra-low mortgage rates” are spurring sales. However, the share of first-time buyers dropped two percentage points in May to 30 percent and inventories remain tight.

The median sales price of an existing home was $239,700 in May, which surpassed the June peak and was up 4.7 percent from May 2015, the trade group said. 

"With first-time buyers still struggling to enter the market, repeat buyers using the proceeds from the sale of their previous home as their downpayment are making up the bulk of home purchases right now," Yun said. Sales should maintain the current pace through the summer if the economy continues to add jobs, he said.


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