Jun 22, 2015 10:20 AM
WASHINGTON (AP) - More Americans bought homes in May, a sign of economic strength that is pushing up average prices.
The National Association of Realtors says sales of existing homes climbed 5.1 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.35 million. May was the third consecutive month of the sales rate exceeding 5 million homes.
Solid hiring since 2014 and relatively low mortgage rates have stirred up demand and helped generate more first-time buyers, though rising sales have fueled spiking prices because relatively few properties are listed for sale.
The market has just 5.1 months' supply of homes, versus an average of six months in a healthy market.
Median home prices climbed 7.9 percent over the past 12 months to $228,700, about $1,700 shy of the July 2006 peak.
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