BUSINESS

US existing home sales up 2.4 per cent in Sept. to fastest rate in 2014; still lags 2013 pace

10/21/2014 10:02 EDT | Updated 12/21/2014 05:59 EST
WASHINGTON - U.S. homes sold in September at their fastest clip this year, yet the housing market has yet to fully shake off a slowdown that began in the middle of 2013.

The National Association of Realtors says sales of existing homes rose 2.4 per cent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.17 million. Still, the sales rate has dropped 1.7 per cent over the past 12 months.

Investors have retreated from the market over the past year. Their departures are being offset by existing homeowners who are upgrading to more expensive properties or downsizing after having raised their children.

Rising prices through much of 2013, weak income growth and tighter credit standards have priced out many would-be buyers. Median home prices rose 5.6 per cent over the past 12 months to $209,700.