U.S. existing home sales rise 2.0% in July to highest since 2007
Investing.com - U.S. existing home sales rose more than expected in July to hit the highest level since 2007, boosting optimism over the health of the economy and supporting the case for a U.S. interest rate hike this year, industry data showed on Thursday.
In a report, the National Association of Realtors said that existing home sales increased 2.0% to a seasonally adjusted 5.59 million units last month from 5.48 million in June. Analysts had expected existing home sales to fall 0.6% to 5.44 million units in July.
Existing-home sales steadily increased for the third consecutive month in July, while stubbornly low inventory levels and rising prices are likely to blame for sales to first-time buyers falling to their lowest share since January, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the increase in sales in July solidifies what has been an impressive growth in activity during this year's peak buying season.
"The creation of jobs added at a steady clip and the prospect of higher mortgage rates and home prices down the road is encouraging more households to buy now," he said.
EUR/USD was trading at 1.1168 from around 1.1173 ahead of the release of the data, GBP/USD was at 1.5658 from 1.5659 earlier, while USD/JPY was at 123.87 from 123.81 earlier.
The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, was at 96.23, compared to 96.20 ahead of the report.
Meanwhile, U.S. stock markets were lower after the open. The Dow 30 dropped 1.2%, the S&P 500 shed 0.95%, while the Nasdaq Composite declined 0.95%.
Elsewhere, in the commodities market, gold futures traded at $1,147.30 a troy ounce, compared to $1,146.80 ahead of the data, while crude oil traded at $41.27 a barrel from $41.28 earlier.
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