Existing home sales beat expectations rising 1.7% on the month, to an annualized pace of 5.48 million.
This was the highest level in 6.5 years.
Economists polled by Bloomberg were looking for existing home sales to fall 2.6% month-over-month to an annualized rate of 5.25 million.
This was 13.2% higher than August 2012.
July’s number was unchanged with a 6.5% rise to 5.39 million in July.
Housing inventory stood at 2.25 million existing homes for sale at the end of August, which represents a 4.9 month supply at current sales pace. This is down from 5-month supply in July.
The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $US212,100 in August, up 14.7% year-over-year. And the median time on the market was 43 days, up from 42 in July.
Economists have been watching for the impact of the run up in mortgage rates on existing and new home sales. The 30-year mortgage rate stands at 4.57% according to Freddie Mac’s primary mortgage market survey (PMMS).
“Rising mortgage interest rates pushed more buyers to close deals, but monthly sales are likely to be uneven in the months ahead from several market frictions,” Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist said in a press release.
“Tight inventory is limiting choices in many areas, higher mortgage interest rates mean affordability isn’t as favourable as it was, and restrictive mortgage lending standards are keeping some otherwise qualified buyers from completing a purchase.”
With the recent disappointing housing data, economists will be watching to see if existing home sales continue to perform better than new home sales. Existing home sales also account for a larger share of the market than new homes.