Home sales surge in June to fastest pace in eight-plus years

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans bought homes in June at the fastest rate in over eight years, pushing prices to record highs as buyer demand has eclipsed the availability of houses on the market.

The National Association of Realtors reports that sales of existing homes climbed 3.2 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.49 million, the highest rate since February 2007.

Sales have jumped 9.6 percent over the past 12 months, while the number of listings has risen just 0.4 percent.

Median home prices climbed 6.5 percent over the past 12 months to $236,400, the highest level reported by the Realtors not adjusted for inflation.

Home-buying has recently surged as more buyers are flooding into the real estate market.

Robust hiring over the past 21 months and an economic recovery now in its sixth year have enabled more Americans to set aside money for a down payment.

But the rising demand has failed to draw more sellers into the market, causing tight inventories and escalating prices that could cap sales growth.

A mere five months’ supply of homes was on the market in June, compared to 5.5 months a year ago and an average of six months in a healthy market.

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