Sales of existing single-family homes rose 2.1% in June to a new monthly record, and house price appreciation jumped 9.6% on an annualized basis.The National Association of Realtors reported that sales of previously owned homes rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.95 million in June, up from 6.81 million in May. Resales have not dipped below 6 million since June 2003, and NAR economists are expecting another annual record in 2004. Until the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage hits 7%, "homebuying should remain very, very healthy," NAR senior economist Lawrence Yun told reporters. Rising home prices are being driven by strong demand and a lean supply of single-family homes on the market. The national median resale price rose to $191,800 in June, up from $175,000 in June of last year. Median home prices rose by more than $10,000 in 2002 and in 2003. Homeowners can expect "another $10,000-plus gain in 2004," Mr. Yun said.

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