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July Home Sales Surge More Than 7%

July Home Sales Surge More Than 7%

TIME photoBy AP / ALAN ZIBEL, courtesy of TIME

(WASHINGTON) — Home resales posted the largest monthly increase in at least 10 years last month as first-time buyers rushed to take advantage of a tax credit that expires this fall.

The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that home sales rose 7.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.24 million in July, from a pace of 4.89 million in June. (Read "Home Sales Perk Up, but Expensive Houses Languish")

It was the fourth-straight monthly increase and the highest level of sales since August 2007. Sales had been expected to rise to an annual pace of 5 million, according to economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters..

The inventory of unsold homes on the market rose to 4.1 million, from 3.8 million a month earlier. That’s a 9.4-month supply at the current sales pace, unchanged from a month earlier.

Sales of foreclosures and other distressed properties made up about a third of all transactions last month, down from nearly half earlier this year. In places like San Diego and Orlando, buyers are snapping up foreclosed properties at deep discounts, and real estate agents are pressing banks to release more foreclosures onto the market…

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