Urgency to Lock in Rates as U.S. Home Sales Climb

Sales of previously owned U.S. homes unexpectedly rose in August to the highest level in more than six years as buyers rushed to lock in interest rates before they increased further.

Purchases climbed 1.7 percent to a 5.48 million annual rate, the most since February 2007, figures from the National Association of Realtors showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 79 economists in a Bloomberg survey called for 5.25 million. Other figures showed Philadelphia-area manufacturing expanded at the strongest pace since March 2011.

The housing data reflect transactions begun in June or July, when buyers were trying to get loans at mortgage rates near record lows. The Realtors’ chief economist said sales will probably cool, which combined with figures showing a slump in new-home demand and weaker-than-projected construction explains why the Federal Reserve yesterday decided to maintain stimulus.


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