Volume of US home sales reaches pre-recession levels

May’s sales volume was 4.5 percent higher than during the same period last year

U.S. home sales hit their fastest pace in nine years last month, as interest rates remained low and unemployment steadily declined.

From April to May, sales rose by nearly 2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.53 million, according to National Association of Realtors data. May’s sales volume was 4.5 percent higher than during the same period last year.

Prices are also up, according to the Wall Street Journal. The median sale price for a previously owned U.S. home last month was $239,700, a 4.7 percent jump from a year earlier and the highest median ever recorded.

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Housing inventory is lagging behind demand as home builders scramble to keep up. There were 2.2 million existing homes on the market at the end of May — a 5.7 percent decrease from last year.

“We have a tight inventory situation—whatever is coming on the market is moving very fast,” Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, told the Journal.

The realtors’ group predicts the pace of existing home sales will continue to rise this year, perhaps by as much as 3 percent.

Sales of brand new homes are skyrocketing as well. In April, sales of new, single-family homes rose by nearly 17 percent from the previous month — the fastest pace of growth since January 2008. [WSJ]Cathaleen Chen