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Existing-home sales climb 2.6% in June

Existing-home sales broke the 5-million benchmark in June, rising 2.6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.04 million units sold, according to the National Association of Realtors.

June's figure is in comparison to an upwardly revised 4.91 million unit rate in May, reaching their highest pace since October 2013. However, they're still 2.3% below last year's number.

Additionally, a rising supply of housing is helping curb price growth and ultimately allow more homebuyers into the market. Total housing inventory rose 2.2% to 2.30 million existing homes for sale, representing a 5.5-month supply; the median existing-home price was $223,300 in June, up 4.3% since last year.

The jump in sales is mostly attributed to activity in the Midwest, where home sales rose 6.2%.

"Inventories are at their highest level in over a year and price gains have slowed to much more welcoming levels in many parts of the country," said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. "This bodes well for rising home sales in the upcoming months as consumers are provided with more choices."

Yun added that the market won't be fully balanced unless new home construction rises by at least 50%, however. Additionally, he said a lack of wage growth is holding the sales pace back.

“Hiring has been a bright spot in the economy this year, adding an average of 230,000 jobs each month,” he said. “However, the lack of wage increases is leaving a large pool of potential homebuyers on the sidelines who otherwise would be taking advantage of low interest rates. Income growth below price appreciation will hurt affordability.”

Single-family home sales fared slightly worse than the total, rising 2.5% to a rate of 4.43 million in June. This is 2.9% below last year's pace.


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