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June 23, 2014 10:05 AM, EDT
Sales of Existing Homes Climbed in May
Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Purchases of previously owned U.S. homes rose more than projected in May, a sign the industry is stabilizing after a weather-depressed quarter.

Sales climbed 4.9% to a 4.89 million annualized rate, the most since October, after a 4.66 million pace in April, figures from the National Association of Realtors showed.

The median forecast of 70 economists in a Bloomberg News survey called for a rise to 4.74 million. Prices increased at the slowest pace in more than two years.

“We’ve still got relatively favorable conditions for home sales,” Tom Simons, an economist at Jefferies in New York, said before the report. “There is continued payroll growth. We haven’t had any dramatic increase in mortgage rates. More properties are coming on the market.”

Estimates in the Bloomberg survey ranged from 4.63 million to 4.9 million. The prior month’s pace was revised up from a previously reported 4.65 million.

The median price of an existing home rose 5.1 % from May 2013 to reach $213,400, June 23’s report showed. The 12-month increase was the smallest since the year ended March 2012.

Compared with a year earlier, purchases decreased 8.2 % before seasonal adjustment.