July 22, 2014 10:10 AM, EDT
Sales of Previously Owned Homes Rise to Eight-Month High
Jonathan Alcorn/Bloomberg News

Sales of previously owned U.S. homes climbed in June to an eight-month high as more listings helped prices cool, luring buyers into the market.

Sales increased 2.6% to a 5.04 million annual rate last month, led by gains in all four regions, according to figures from the National Association of Realtors in Washington.

The median forecast of 78 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News projected sales would rise to a 4.99 million rate. Prices advanced at the slowest pace since March 2012, and inventories rose to an almost two-year high.

Historically low interest rates and smaller price increases are helping bring homeownership within reach for more Americans. A pickup in employment opportunities that lead to faster wage growth would provide an added spark for a residential real estate market that began to soften in the middle of 2013.

“We’re recovering from the winter doldrums, more people are working and interest rates are attractive,” said Brian Jones, senior U.S. economist at Societe Generale.

Estimates in the Bloomberg survey ranged from a sales pace of 4.8 million to 5.11 million after May’s previously reported 4.89 million.

Compared with a year earlier, purchases of previously owned properties decreased 2.3 % in June on an adjusted basis, the July 22 report showed.