Home Sales Rise As Buyers Grab Foreclosures

existing home sales
existing home sales

WASHINGTON -- The number of Americans who bought previously occupied homes rose in August. But sales were driven by an increase in foreclosures, evidence that the housing market remains weak.

The National Association of Realtors says home sales rose 7.7 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.03 million homes. That's below the 6 million that economists say is consistent with a healthy housing market.

Last month's pace was slightly ahead of the 4.91 million sold in 2010, the weakest sales year in 13 years.

Homes at risk of foreclosure made up 31 percent of sales, up from 29 percent in July.

The segment of first-time homebuyers was unchanged at 32 percent of all sales. They normally make up about 50 percent of sales in healthy markets.