Washington (AFP) - Sales of existing homes in the United States rose slightly for the fourth straight month in June, with first-time buyers largely outstripping sales to investors, according to industry figures.
Total sales were up 1.1 percent over May to an annual pace of 5.57 million, putting them 3 percent above May of last year. That is the highest pace since February 2007, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday.
"Solid, but hard to see significant further gains until mortgage demand rises," Ian Richardson of Pantheon Macro wrote in a research note.
First-time buyers represented 33 percent of sales in June, up from 30 percent in May. All-cash sales were unchanged at 22 percent.
Lawrence Yun, the NAR's chief economist, said in a statement that market factors might not allow sales growth to continue.
"Sustained job growth as well as this year's descent in mortgage rates is undoubtedly driving the appetite for home purchases," he said.
"Looking ahead, it's unclear if this current sales pace can further accelerate as record high stock prices, near-record low mortgage rates and solid job gains face off against a dearth of homes available for sale and lofty home prices that keep advancing."
The median price for all housing types was $247,700 in June, up 4.8 percent year-on-year.