US home sales rose to 5.5M in August, highest in 6½ years, as rising rates spur buyers


WASHINGTON — U.S. home sales rose last month to the highest level since February, 2007, as buyers rushed to close deals before interest rates increased further.

Sales of previously occupied homes rose 1.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.48 million in August, the National Association of Realtors said today. That level is consistent with a healthy market.

August sales reflect contracts signed in June and July, when mortgage rates were rising steadily. The Realtors’ group cautioned that buyer traffic dropped off significantly in August. That means sales could slow in the months ahead.

As reported last week, home sales in Lucas County and northern Wood County were up 11 percent in August compared with the same month a year earlier, according to the Toledo Board of Realtors.

The average sales price was up 17 percent to $129,321.