Home Sales in July Rise to Levels Last Seen in 2009

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A Coldwell Banker LLC 'Sale Pending' sign stands outside of a home in Peoria, Illinois, U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012. The National Association of Realtors is scheduled to release existing homes data on Oct. 19. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
By CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER

WASHINGTON -- Sales of previously occupied homes surged in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.39 million, approaching a healthy level for the first time since November 2009. The spike in home sales shows housing continues to drive the U.S. economy.

The National Association of Realtors says sales jumped 6.5 percent from a 5.06 million pace in June. Sales are 17.2 percent higher than 12 months ago.

Home sales and prices have climbed since early last year, buoyed by steady hiring and historically low mortgage rates.

Mortgage rates have begun to rise in the past two months and could slow sales later this year. Higher rates may have encouraged some potential homebuyers to close deals.


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