Sales of previously owned U.S. homes climbed in June to an eight-month high as more listings helped prices cool, luring buyers into the market.
Sales increased 2.6 percent to a 5.04 million annual rate last month, led by gains in all four U.S. regions, figures from the National Association of Realtors showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 78 economists surveyed by Bloomberg projected sales would rise to a 4.99 million rate. Prices advanced at the slowest pace since March 2012 and inventories rose to an almost two-year high.
Historically low interest rates and smaller price increases are helping bring homeownership within reach for more Americans. A pickup in employment opportunities that lead to faster wage growth would provide an added spark for a residential real-estate market that began to soften in the middle of 2013.
“We’re recovering from the winter doldrums, more people are working and interest rates are attractive,” said Brian Jones, senior U.S. economist at Societe Generale in New York, who projected a 5.05 million pace of sales for June.
Estimates in the Bloomberg survey of economists ranged from a sales pace of 4.8 million to 5.11 million after May’s previously reported 4.89 million.
The existing home-sales advance was led by a 6.2 percent gain in the Midwest, followed by a 3.2 percent increase in the Northeast. Purchases rose 2.7 percent in the West and 0.5 percent in the South.
Purchases of single-family homes increased 2.5 percent to an annual rate of 4.43 million, the report showed. The sales pace of multifamily properties including condominiums climbed 3.4 percent to 610,000 in June, also the highest since October.
Cash transactions accounted for about 32 percent of all purchases in June, according to the report. Investors made up 16 percent of purchases.
Sales of distressed property, including foreclosures, accounted for 11 percent of the total last month, matching the lowest share since October 2008.