WASHINGTON -- The rebound in the U.S. housing market accelerated in August as residential construction starts increased 2.3% and sales of existing homes rose 7.8%, according to new figures released Wednesday.
The National Assn. of Realtors said sales of existing single-family homes, townhouses, condos and co-ops rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.82 million units in August, up from an annual rate of 4.47 million in July. The rate exceeded analysts' expectations.
The national median sale price was $187,400 in August, up 9.5% from a year earlier. It was the biggest year-over-year increase since January 2006, shortly before the housing bubble burst. August marked the sixth straight month of year-over-year price increase, which had not happened since early 2006, the Realtors group said.
At the same time, the Commerce Department reported that privately owned housing starts rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 750,000, up 2.3% from the July rate of 733,000. Although that figure was below analysts' expectations, it was another indication the real estate sector was bouncing back after apparently hitting bottom.