Existing home sales jump again in July
* Existing home sales shot up 7.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.24 million units from 4.89 million in June. That was way hotter than the 5 million units that economists were expecting. It's also the highest since August 2007.
* Single-family sales rose 6.5%, while condo and cooperative sales surged 12.5%. By region, sales rose across most of the country. They gained 7.1% in the South, 10.9% in the Midwest, and 13.4% in the Northeast. Sales dipped 1.7% in the West, by contrast.
* The raw number of homes for sale rose 7.3% to 4.091 million units from 3.811 million in May. But supply was down 10.6% from a year earlier. The months supply at current sales pace indicator of inventory held steady at 9.4. Single family inventory dipped to 8.6 from 8.9, but condo inventory climbed to 15.1 from 13.1.
* The median price of an existing home dropped 2% to $178,400 from $182,000 in June. That was down 15.1% from $210,100 in the year-ago period.
Thanks to relatively low mortgage rates, falling prices, and improved consumer confidence, the housing market is continuing to show signs of improvement. Existing home sales jumped more than 7% in July, the biggest monthly gain since the Realtors' group began tracking combined condo, coop and single-family home sales in 1999.
Secondary indicators showed a bit of weakness, with the raw supply of homes on the market rising and prices dipping month-over-month. That will need to be monitored going forward, especially in the condo sector, which remains dramatically oversupplied. But the latest report adds to mounting evidence that the worst of the housing market crash is behind us.