Sales figures for previously owned homes rose in August following a big correction in July, according to data released by the ""National Association of Realtors"":http://www.realtor.org (NAR) Thursday.
The trade group's ""existing-home sales report"":http://www.realtor.org/research/research/ehsdata showed a 7.6 percent increase in transactions during the month, bumping the annualized sales pace to 4.13 million homes.
That's up from a revised sales pace of 3.84 million the previous month, after sales plunged 27 percent in July Ã¢â‚¬" the ""worst showing for existing-home sales"":http://dsnews.comarticles/existing-home-sales-post-worst-showing-in-more-than-decade-2010-08-24 in nearly 15 years.
Sales transactions for pre-owned homes remain 19 percent below the 5.10 million-unit pace recorded a year ago.
The research firm ""IHS Global Insight"":http://www.ihsglobalinsight.com said the month-to-month rise was in line with expectations, but called the[COLUMN_BREAK]
results ""disappointing nonetheless,"" noting that housing demand remains weak and mortgage applications to buy homes have been stagnant since collapsing in May.
""We are not expecting worse sales numbers going forward, just a long climb out of a deep hole,"" said Patrick Newport, U.S. economist for IHS.
Newport says the path to recovery in housing will be through the labor market, and as a result, he's doesn't anticipate sales to climb above the 6.0 million mark Ã¢â‚¬" a number he says would accompany ""normal conditions"" Ã¢â‚¬" until 2013.
According to NAR's report, the sales share of distressed homes rose to 34 percent in August, up from 32 percent the month prior. First-time buyers purchased 31 percent of homes last month, compared to 38 percent in July.
NAR says the national median existing-home price was $178,600 in August, up 0.8 percent from August 2009.
The analysts at ""Capital Economics"":http://www.capitaleconomics.com contend that the current weakness of demand relative to the high level of supply suggests home prices still have further to fall.
The August rebound did pare housing inventory down to 3.98 million existing homes available for sale, resulting in the months' supply of unsold properties falling from 12.5 to 11.6.
But as Paul Dales, U.S. economist for Capital Economics, explained, that is still well above the 6-7 months that has historically been consistent with stable prices.