Housing Market Continues Improving as Sales Rise in July

The housing market continues to improve as existing home sales rose 6.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.39 million in July, according to the National Association of Realtors. Sales have remained above year-ago levels for 25 months.

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $213,500 in July, which is 13.7% above July 2012 — the 17th consecutive month of year-over-year price increases. First-time buyers accounted for 29% of purchases in July, unchanged from June, but are down from 34% in July 2012. All-cash sales comprised 31% of transactions in July, compared with 27% in July 2012.

By region, the Northeast put up the strongest numbers, gaining 12.7% for the month. The West came in second with a gain of 6.6%. The Midwest rose 5.8% with the South increasing by 5.0% Existing home sales are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops.