Report says home sales up in July

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Sales of existing homes rose in July, with the national median price showing five consecutive months of year-over-year increases despite “unnecessarily tight lending standards and shrinking inventory supplies,” according to a report from the National Association of Realtors.

Monthly sales rose in every region but the West, where inventory is very tight, the group reported Wednesday.

Total existing-home sales, completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, grew 2.3 percent, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.47 million in July, from 4.37 million in June. They were 10.4 percent above the 4.05 million-unit pace in July 2011.

Lawrence Yun, the association’s chief economist, said in the report that housing affordability conditions are very good.

“Mortgage interest rates have been at record lows this year while rents have been rising at faster rates,” Yun said in the report. “Combined, these factors are helping to unleash a pent-up demand. However, the market is constrained by unnecessarily tight lending standards and shrinking inventory supplies, so housing could easily be much stronger without these abnormal frictions.”

Still, the home price measures are showing positive movement that is building confidence in the market, Yun said in the report.

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