Sales of existing homes surged 7.8% in August to the best level in more than a year as low interest rates and a slowly improving jobs market help fuel a rebound in activity.
The National Association of Realtors said sales rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.82 million from July’s 4.47 million, which was better than the 4.6 million expected in a MarketWatch-compiled economist poll.
The level was the highest since May 2010 and the percentage gain was strongest since August 2011. U.S. stocks SPX -0.05% saw a quick spike after the data was released, and have moved in a see-saw manner ever since. Read Market Snapshot.
Compared to the same period of 2011, sales were up 9.3%, the 14th straight month of year-on-year gains.
Each of the four major regions saw monthly gains in the order of 7% to 8%.
About a third of homes were sold in a month and the median time it took to sell a house was 70 days, up slightly from 69 days in July but down from 92 days at the same time last year.
Fueled by low interest rates and pent-up demand, home sales have improved considerably from their recession-era lows, but still are well below the 2005 peak of just over 7 million.