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Sales of existing homes top 5 million in May

WASHINGTON — U.S. sales of previously occupied homes surpassed the 5 million mark in May, the first time that’s happened in 3½ years. The gain shows the housing recovery is strengthening.

The National Association of Realtors says home sales rose 4.2 percent in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.18 million. That’s up from April’s pace of 4.97 million.

Sales last exceeded 5 million in November 2009. During that month and October 2009, a home-buying tax credit briefly inflated sales. Prior to that, sales hadn’t been above 5 million since July 2007.

The median price of a home rose in May to $208,000, the highest level since July 2008. That represented a 15.4 percent jump from a year ago, the fastest year-over-year price gain since October 2005.



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