Total existing home sales — completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops — increased 4.2 percent on the month in May to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.18 million. May’s SAAR is 12.9 percent above the year-ago period, and is the highest level since November 2009.
“The housing numbers are overwhelmingly positive,” commented Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, which publishes the report. Yun’s comment echoes sentiment expressed by many economists, including Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. Bernanke cited the housing market as an economic tailwind in a highly-watched press conference on Wednesday, and indicated that rising home prices will continue to help improve consumer sentiment.