July 23, 2009

U.S. existing home sales rise 3.6 percent

U.S. existing-home sales rose a faster-than-expected 3.6 percent, but prices were still down sharply from June 2008, a national realty group said Thursday.

June's increase raised the annual home-resale rate to 4.89 million units from May's downwardly revised 4.72 million, the National Association of Realtors said.

The association originally reported May sales up 2.4 percent to 4.77 million.

Many Wall Street economists had expected a June sales rate of about 4.85 million.

The realty trade association said the industry had not experienced three straight months of existing-home sales gains since early 2004.

Compared to June 2008's pace, previously owned home sales were down 0.2 percent, the group said.

The median national home price fell 15.4 percent to $181,800 from $215,000 a year earlier, but was up from $174,700 in May.