Existing Home Sales Rise More Than Expected

Existing home sales rose more than expected in August to the fastest annual pace since March as falling prices and low interest rates drew more buyers into the market, the National Association of Realtors said.

Sales climbed 7.7 percent month over month to an annual rate of 5.03 million units, the NAR said Wednesday. The median price was 5.1 percent lower than a year earlier.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected sales to rise 1.4 percent to a 4.71-million-unit pace. Compared to August 2010, sales were 18.6 percent higher.

The NAR's estimate for the pace of existing home sales during July was unchanged.