US existing home sales rise 7.6% in August

home for sale in Vermont
Image caption Sales are still at their second lowest level in more than ten years

Sales of previously-owned homes in the US rose 7.6% in August, figures have shown, but activity in the housing market remains at low levels.

Sales climbed to an annual rate of 4.13 million, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) said.

But that was from a low base - July's revised annualised rate of 3.84 million was the lowest since 1997.

July had seen a record one-month drop after the end of a tax credit, designed to boost sales.

"The housing market is trying to recover on its own power without the home buyer tax credit," said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist.

"Despite very attractive affordability conditions, a housing market recovery will likely be slow and gradual because of lingering economic uncertainty."

Dean Maki from Barclays Capital in New York said the data was "a touch better than expected".

"The tax credits pulled sales forward and now we are in an environment where the underlying trends will be income and employment, which we expect to improve and push existing home sales higher in the coming months."

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