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.