In this Friday, Aug. 16, 2019, photo for sale signs beckon buyers to homes along Park Avenue in Richmond, Va. On Wednesday, Aug. 21, the National Association of Realtors reports on sales of existing homes in July. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

US home sales rose 2.5% in July, aided by low mortgage rates

August 21, 2019 - 10:00 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home sales increased 2.5% in July, a sign that lower mortgage rates have produced a spurt of home-buying.

The National Association of Realtors says homes sold last month at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 5.42 million units.

Average interest rates on 30-year mortgages have fallen to 3.60%, the lowest in nearly three years. Cheaper borrowing costs have enabled sales to rise 0.6% from a year ago, ending 16 consecutive months of annual sales declines.

Still, sales could be limited by a shortage of listings and home prices that are rising faster than incomes. The number of properties on the market has fallen 1.6% during the past 12 months to 1.89 million units, giving buyers fewer options.

The median sales price climbed 4.3% from a year ago to $280,800.

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