Existing-home sales increased 2% in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 7.29 million units, the second-best reading ever by the industry.According to new figures compiled by the National Association of Realtors, the median home price in the United States increased 15.8%, to $220,000, from that of a year earlier. (The 2% increase in sales reflects activity from July to August.) "Clearly, reports of the housing market's demise have been greatly exaggerated," said Greenwich Capital analyst Todd Miller. However, the inventory of existing homes for sale rose 3.5%. Mr. Miller said the "uptick" in inventory is a sign that homeowners are "willing to test the waters, which should help to, at the margin, keep a lid on the uptrend in prices going forward." NAR chief economist David Lereah said, "With a general background of growing population and favorable affordability conditions, homes sales are staying at very healthy levels." The NAR can be found online at http://www.realtor.org.

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